The African Union’s Special Representative to Somalia says contributing troops from Burundi and Uganda have not been paid since May of this year.
Ambassador Nicholas Bwakira said the lack of payment is undermining the troops’ peacekeeping mission in Somalia.
“There is a sense of frustration on the part of the African Union and AMISOM. We are performing an international duty, which is the responsibility of the UN-Security Council (and) we would have expected that the international community will make financial resources available to enable us to pay the troops who are on the ground,” he said.
Since its formation earlier this year, President Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed’s government has been battling hard-line insurgents in its efforts to stabilize the country.
Ambassador Bwakira said morale is noticeably low among AMISOM and Somali government troops.
“This has a very bad impact on the moral of the troops and the moral of the government concerned. We have already lost in the course of this mission the lives of 80 officers and soldiers from Burundi and Uganda -- 43 officers and soldiers from Burundi have been killed in the last two years 37 soldiers have been killed from Uganda in the last three years,” Bwakira said.
Of the more than $295 million pledged at the Brussels conference in April, the Somali government has realized only three million dollars. Two million dollars came from the United States, and another million from the Arab League.
A Somali government official says the lack of funds has also stalled plans to establish 10,000-strong police force and an army of 5,000 soldiers.
Treasury Minister Abdirahman Omar Osman underscored the need for donors to urgently deliver on their pledge.
“As you know most of the regions in the country are now controlled by al-Shabab who has links with Al-Qaeda. So, if this continues, what will happen is al-Shabab will become the next government and we will see the next Afghanistan in Somalia and that is what we don’t want,” Osman said.