[Dehai-WN] Middle East Online: African Defence Ministers meet on Somali crisis

[Dehai-WN] Middle East Online: African Defence Ministers meet on Somali crisis

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2011 13:44:58 +0100

African Defence Ministers meet on Somali crisis

Countries contributing troops to AMISOM are set to meet to address matters
relating to political, security, military operations in Somalia.

Middle East Online

First Published: 2011-11-14

ADDIS ABABA - Countries contributing troops to the African Union Mission in
Somalia (AMISOM) are set to meet Monday alongside regional nations to
discuss the future of the mission.

African Union spokeswoman Lulit Kebede said defence ministers from Uganda
and Burundi, which both have troops in Somalia, and "interested countries"
Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia will attend the closed meeting.

"The meeting should address the matters relating to the political, security
and military operations in Somalia and to AMISOM ... and the way forward on
the situation in Somalia," according to a statement.

The ministers, meeting in the Ethiopian capital from 1300 GMT, will also
discuss a UN resolution on maintaining the mission until October 2012.

The AMISOM force is made up of 9,000 troops from Uganda and Burundi.

Djibouti and Sierra Leone have pledged to contribute additional soldiers,
which would bring the total number of troops to 10,700.

The AU force is tasked to protect the Somali government against Islamist
Shebab rebels, and first deployed in 2007.

After years of hard battles the force controls only Somali's anarchic
capital, and has repeatedly called for a troop increase.

The UN last year approved an additional 3,000 troops for the force, but the
soldiers are yet to be deployed and funding remains difficult.

Kenya last month sent troops and tanks across the border into
Shebab-controlled southern Somalia to battle the insurgents it blames for a
spate of attacks on its territory, including kidnapping foreigners.


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