AU to deploy 4,000 more troops to war torn Somalia

16:53, July 28, 2010      

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African heads of state and government attending the just concluded 15th African Union (AU) summit here on Tuesday resolved to deploy 4,000 more troops to the war torn Somalia for peacekeeping mission, bringing the total number of troops to over 10,000.

The Chairperson of AU Commission Jean Ping told reporters in a joint media briefing with the President of Malawi and the Chairperson of AU, Bingu wa Mutharika that Guinea will deploy one battalion and Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) will send 2,000 soldiers to help pacify and stabilize the volatile country.

IGAD is a regional body grouping Ethiopia, Uganda, Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan.

Jean Ping said there is a proposal by AU to increase the troops to 15,000 to tackle terrorism in the Horn of the African country. The commission currently has a ceiling of 8,000.

"We have a commitment to deliver additional 4,000 troops to Somalia which should help us reach the ceiling and go above. The Guinea and Djibouti troops are ready," he said.

"We are moving up the ceiling. Many countries are ready to send troops to Somalia," he said.

"The troops that have gone to Somalia are making gains. I believe we shall be able to tackle this terrorism, which has gone beyond boarders," said Mutharika.

Uganda and Burundi are the only two countries contributing about 6,000 peacekeepers under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Security experts have recommended of a 27,000 strong peacekeeping force in Somalia to pacify the situation.

The decision comes after three days of intense discussion on the troop increment and change of mandate of AMISOM forces in Somalia.

"The request for the change of mandate from peace keeping to enforcement is under consideration. AU can change the mandate but there are additional implications. We need additional funds and equipments for enforcement," said Ping.

Mutharika said the July 11 terror attack in the Uganda capital Kampala by suicide bombers that killed 76 people was aimed at scaring the African heads of state and government from attending the summit.

"But they did the opposite. Terrorism has no place in Africa. This issue will be brought under control," he said.

The 15th AU summit under the theme: "Maternal, Infant and Child Health and Development in Africa" kicked off on Sunday amidst tight security following the July 11 bomb explosions in Kampala.

Source: Xinhua


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