Saturday, July 17, 2010

Uganda Ready to Send Another 2,000 Troops to Somalia

Uganda ready to send extra 2,000 troops to Somalia

Elias Biryabarema,
Reuters July 17, 2010, 1:38

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Uganda is ready to send an additional 2,000
peacekeeping troops to Somalia despite threats from hardline Somali
Islamists of more attacks if peacekeepers are not withdrawn, an army
spokesman said on Friday. Two coordinated explosions in the Ugandan capital Kampala on Sunday killed 73 people watching the soccer World Cup final on television.

"If we're called on to contribute a stronger force in Somalia, we're
ready to send an extra 2,000," spokesman Felix Kulayigye told Reuters
by telephone.

The al Qaeda-linked group al Shabaab, which claimed responsibility for the Kampala attacks, said it was avenging the killing of civilians by
African Union peacekeepers. Ugandan forces form the backbone of the
6,100-strong contingent in Somalia.

Regional allies have promised to send an extra 2,000 soldiers to
Somalia by mid-August.

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni wants new rules of engagement that would allow the troops to take on the rebels in order to prevent
further attacks across the region.

"We're in Somalia under the auspices of the AU to help our brothers
there and al Shabaab won't intimidate us or scare us out of the
country," Kulayigye said.

Burundi also has troops in Mogadishu, protecting the presidential
palace and guarding the airport and port from insurgents.

It has said it will not bow to pressure from al Shabaab and will keep
its 2,500 peacekeepers in place.

Somalia has had no effective central authority since 1991, and the
Transitional Federal Government controls only a small section of the

President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed on Friday appealed once more for more help for Somalia, but said the country should look inside for a
solution to insurgency by groups such as al Shabaab.

"I appeal to all Somali people to face this new terrible matter
broadly. Change of a community can't come from outside if the
community itself doesn't make a change, so let us all stand to make a
real change," he told a Mogadishu news conference.

(Additional reporting by Ibrahim Mohamed in Mogadishu; Writing by
Richard Lough; Editing by George Obulutsa and Andrew Dobbie)

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