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Uganda to send 2,000 more troops to Somalia.

undefinedHalkaan ka akhri

President Museveni has pledged to send an additional 2,000 Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers to beef up security in the war torn Somali capital Mogadishu.

The offer comes a week after the Islamic militants, al Shabaab, withdrew from areas they held in the capital.
Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda, the spokesperson for the African Union peace keeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM), told Saturday Monitor that the increase in troop levels is intended to consolidate security in the capital and plan for phase two of the military assault against the al Shabaab.

“UPDF will instead increase the number of troops in Somalia. President Museveni has already pledged additional 2,000 soldiers,” Lt. Col. Ankuda said, adding, “UPDF will not withdraw because the mission to liberate Somalia has just started. (Getting al Shabaab out of) Mogadishu was Phase One, there are two more phases.”

The Somali Transitional Federal Government backed by the peacekeepers, have battled the insurgents for five years now. Uganda and Burundi have 9,000 soldiers in the war torn country.

President Museveni’s latest move follows an appeal for more troops by the African Union force commander to secure the capital, after militant Islamists left the city.

AMISOM commander, Maj Gen. Fred Mugisha told journalists earlier this week that the militant al Shabaab group still threatened stability in Mogadishu and troops were needed to protect food aid. The group is blocking distribution of food aid to those affected by famine.Gen. Mugisha, said the AU should immediately deploy about 3,000 troops to fill in the gap left by the al Shabaab.

The UN Security Council has, however, approved a 12,000-strong AU force for Somalia, although the AU said it needs 20,000 troops to secure the country.

Several African countries, including Nigeria and Malawi, have failed to fulfil promises to send troops because they fear being dragged into the long-running conflict. Only Uganda and Burundi have deployed troops in Somalia.

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