African Union appeals for Somali mission boost
(Pana)-- The African Union (AU) has appealed to member states to contribute additional troops to strengthen the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and help to create a local force as part of efforts to create a functioning government in the Horn of African nation.
The AU Peace and Security Council (PSC), meeting for the first time to discuss the crisis in Somalia since the Kampala Summit of July 2010, called for the strengthening of the Somali national police force to deal with armed militants that have consistently carried out attacks against the government.
It also called on African countries to contribute troops to AMISOM to enable the force reach its authorised levels of 8,000 troops, and said efforts to train a local police force for Somalia should be prioritised to give the government an upper hand in dealing with the armed militants opposed to the formation of a government in Somalia.
The Council said the President Sharif-led Transitional Federal Government (TFG) should continue talks with militants, and urged the TFG and the Ahlu Sunnah Waljamaa to implement an agreement reached wit h the TFG in March this year to work together on battling Islamists seeking full control of Somalia. It hailed the efforts of Burundi and Uganda, the only countries with troops inside Somalia, for their support towards efforts to bring stability in Somalia.
The PSC met as Somali militants killed four Ugandan AMISOM peacekeepers after mortar fire hit the presidential palace. In a statement after the attacks, Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed said the international community could not expect much from a government created from a chaotic political environment.
President Sharif’s government has been waging a war against hardened terrorists operating on the Somali soil. The Al Shabab militants, which have in recent times carried out attacks in Uganda to push that country’s authorities into pulling their troops out of Somalia, are opposed to worldwide efforts to have a government in Somalia. Efforts by the AU to get additional troops for Somalia have been slowed down by the lack of military equipment to enable the rapid deployment.
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