African Union peacekeepers aim to assert control over half of the embattled
Somali capital Mogadishu by month-end and fan out to the countryside once
Additional troops arrive, The deputy head of the mission said.
The AU force of about 8,000 Mainly Ugandan and Burundian Soldiers is now in charge of more Than 40 percent of the city, Wafula Wamunyinyi, deputy special representative of the chairman of the AU Commission for Somalia, told reporters today in Nairobi, the capital of neighboring Kenya. That’s
the area where we consider under control where there is relative peace and freedom to move about,” Wamunyinyi said. “Our soldiers have been moving
To expand their area. Somalia’s Western-backed government has been battling insurgents including al-Shabaab, which has pledged loyalty to al-Qaeda, since 2007.
Most of the south and center of Somalia and parts of Mogadishu have been sized by the rebel militia. Amisom, as the AU mission is known, could achieve “
Much more gains if support is forthcoming,” Wamunyinyi said. That includes raising the number of troops, as well as money and equipment, he said.
Among the African nations willing to increase assistance, Burundi is ready to send 1,000 soldiers, Guinea is likely to commit 2,000 troops and
Malawi is considering its own contribution, Wamunyinyi said. A group of East African countries, known as the Inter- Governmental Authority on Development, said
on July 6 it wanted Amisom and the United Nations Security Council to raise 20,000 peacekeepers for the Horn of Africa nation.
Somalia hasn’t had a functioning central administration since the ouster of former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.
By Sarah McGregor