AU to send 4,000 troops to Somalia, change of mandate still under consideration: AU commission chairman

08:06, July 28, 2010      

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The African Union (AU) will send an additional 4,000 troops to Somalia while the change of the peacekeeping mandate is still under consideration, the African Union Commission Chairman Jean Ping told a press conference on Tuesday after the closing of the AU summit.

Jean Ping said that half of the 4,000 troops will be from the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and the rest will be from Guinea and Djibouti.

He said that currently there are 6,000 peacekeeping troops out there in the field of Somalia, from Burundi and Uganda.

"We have committed to deliver quickly an additional 4,000 troops there. We should help them reach the ceiling and perhaps above the ceiling," he said.

"One battalion from Guinea, one battalion from IGAD, 2,000 troops and Djibouti immediately," he added.

Ping said there are many countries who are ready to send their troops to Somalia. The chairman also said that the change of the AU peacekeeping mandate in the war-torn Somalia is still under consideration.

"We had a request to change the request, which is under consideration. Because AU can change this mandate but there are a lot of implications. If we change the mandate, we need additional equipment adapted to the new mandate."

The chairman also said that the U.S., Britain and France are still considering AU's request to them to send more helicopters.

The AU's latest decision of troop enforcement came after a three-day summit where the issue of Somali peacekeeping mission has overshadowed the theme of maternal and child health.

The summit, which attracted nearly 40 heads of state and government of AU member states, was held two weeks after the Somali insurgent group al-Shabaab claimed the deadly twin bombing attacks which killed more than 70 people in Uganda.

Source: Xinhua


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