AU approves more troops to Somalia
Posted Monday, October 14 2013 at 16:58
Mbale-The African Union has endorsed another 35 per cent force to Somalia to step up its fight against Al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab rebels.
According to a press statement from AU's Peace and Security Council, 6,235 troops have been approved for deployment to Somalia which brings the total number of forces to 23,966.
The decision comes in the wake of last month's deadly attack in a Nairobi shopping centre which was claimed by the al Shabaab.
"We are happy that another force has been approved to boost our efforts in Somalia due to the serious threat al Shabaab continues to pose in Somalia and in the region but of course we are awaiting approval by the UN Security Council before the forces are deployed,” said Capt. Deo Akiiki, the Uganda Contingent Public information officer AMISOM, in an interview.
AMISOM mission, which includes Kenyan, Ugandan and Burundian soldiers which have been in Somalia since 2007 and have clocked successes in recent months by taking over major cities including the capital Mogadishu and the key port town Kismayo.
"AMISOM does not for example have any military aircraft for medical evacuations and operational support. Neither does it have a naval component to patrol the Somali coastline, the longest on the continent, and to stop al Shabaab infiltrating foreign terrorists, resupplying and rearming," he said. "We hope the UNSC (United Nations Security Council) and our international partners will act quickly to provide resources for the urgent deployment and sustaining of the additional forces and equipment."
However, reports indicate that the key al Shabaab strongholds remain, including rural southern and central Somalia, while another faction has dug into remote and rugged mountains in the northern, semi-autonomous Puntland region.