4,000 troops needed by AU force to fail Al Shabaab in Somalia

Thursday, November 24 2016

Head of UNSOS, Hubert Price, who is also an Assistant Secretary-General,  said that resources are available but there are still discussions where the troops will come from.

By FRED OLUOCH

world05pixThe African Union Mission in Somalia will need additional 4,000 troops to liberate the remaining Al Shabaab controlled areas in the Juba Valley,  Bakool, Hiraan and some coastal areas.

The additional troops will boot the current 21,129  troops from Ethiopia , Kenya, Uganda, Burundi that are currently on high alert to secure the ongoing elections, but which is still operating below the ideal capacity.

The Amisom spokesperson, Col Joseph Kibet told The East African in Mogadishu that although the force needs a maximum of 49,000 to fully secure the remaining areas, the recent African Union (AU) Peace Security Council recommended additional 4,000 troops which can be sourced from the Troop Contributing Countries (TCC) or from fresh volunteers.

Col Kibet said that although the recent withdrawal of non-Amisom Ethiopian troops from Somalia from Hiraan region has seen Al Shabaab recapture six town in Central Somalia where they had been routed bit it has not affected the operations much because they are in areas where the African forces had not yet deployed.

“The last three attempts by Al Shabaab to attack election centres in the last one month have been thwarted so they have resorted to insurgency and assassinations. We need more troops to capture the improvised explosive devices and take the battle to them because the more we wait the more they will surprise us,” said Col Kibet.

While the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) has revealed that funds are available to support additional 4,000 troops, there have not been any volunteers since the decision was taken two months ago.

Head of UNSOS, Hubert Price, who is also an Assistant Secretary-General,  said that resources are available but there are still discussions where the troops will come from.

“We have got resources yes but someone has to agree to deploy because we can only fund troops that are available and ready. it is up the AU to decide whether the troops will come from member countries or from without, each of them having different implications,” said Mr Price.

While most of the TCCs are already overstretched and some of them like Burundi and Kenya have threatened to pull out because of delayed payment and lack of compensation, very few African countries are willing to commit troops in Somalia.

Ethiopia recently withdrew over 2,000 non-Amisom troops that have been in Somalia under a bilateral agreement between Mogadishu and Addis Ababa, citing lack of support from the international community. Burundi on the other hand, is threatening to withdraw because the European Union has delayed payment to its soldiers because the donors don’t want the money to be channelled through the government. – Daily Monitor

Date: Published: Wednesday, November 23 2016

 

 

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