[Dehai-WN] Theeastafrican.co.ke: Amisom takes on regional, continental character, as Kenya heightens attacks

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2011 14:06:50 +0100

Amisom takes on regional, continental character, as Kenya heightens attacks

us.png By Patrick Gathaara ( <javascript:void(0);> email the author)

December 28 2011 at 00:00

The AU force in Somalia is increasingly taking on a regional and continental
character, offering fresh impetus to ongoing campaign to stamp out militias
who have stoked terror throughout the East African region.

Last Tuesday saw the arrival of the first batch of Djiboutian forces in
Mogadishu to join the AU Mission in Somalia (Amisom). More African countries
are lining up to join. Kenya, which has troops in the south chasing after
the al Shabaab terror group, whom it blames for a spate of kidnappings of
Western tourists and aid workers that threatened its lucrative tourism
industry, wants its soldiers rehatted as Amisom troops but needs a nod from
the Security Council. (READ:
mpaign++in+Somalia/-/2558/1287192/-/6aebgb/-/index.html> How joining Amisom
will boost Kenya's campaign in Somalia)

Sierra Leone and Guinea have also offered to send a battalion each. An
advance party consisting of 100 troops, led by General Zakaria Sheikh
Ibrahim, landed at the city's Aden Adde International Airport and were
received by the Amisom Deputy Force Commander, Brigadier-General Audace
Nduwumunsi. A further 800 will follow by the end of the month.

Gen. Nduwumunsi said the deployment of the Djiboutian contingent was a great
step forward for the Amisom Force in Mogadishu and for building stability in
the country. "The 900 extra troops will initially be based at Al Jazeera IV
as they undergo specific, in theatre training," he added.

Djibouti is the third African country to deploy soldiers under Amisom, and
so far the only neighbouring state to do so. Prior to this, Amisom had
approximately 9,800 troops from Uganda and Burundi in Mogadishu. With
Burundi planning to send an extra battalion, Amisom strength will soon reach
12,000, the maximum number its UN mandate allows it to have.

Amisom commanders estimate that they need up to 20,000 troops to secure
Somalia and the AU has asked the UN Security Council to raise the troop
ceiling to that level. In October, the Council promised to review the limit
once it was reached.

Somalia's neighbours had previously been barred from participating in a
failed 2006 attempt by IGAD, of which all three are members, to field a
peacekeeping force in support of the peace process.

In December 2006, the UN Security Council authorised the deployment of
IGASOM, as the mission was to be called, but stipulated that neighbouring
countries were stay out. However, when the Council approved Amisom's
deployment in place of IGASOM, these clauses were dropped.

Djibouti deal

The 2008 Djibouti Agreement which currently forms the basis of the peace
process, specifically called the AU to deploy a stabilization force
"excluding neighbouring states." This, however, does not apply to Amisom
since the force was already deployed in Mogadishu. In any case, the parties
to that agreement now form the TFG and have requested neighbouring states to

Security in Mogadishu has
ding/-/434746/1290906/-/k9kfdez/-/index.html> improved significantly since
August as Amisom forced the terror group Al Shabaab to withdraw from the
capital, ushering a period of relative calm. This is despite the fact that
terrorist cells remain in the city and have launched a campaign of bombings
targeting civilians and TFG officials.

According to Amisom Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Fred Mugisha, war-weary
residents are contributing to the effort to keep their city safe. Speaking
two weeks ago, he said tips from the public had led to 15 improvised
explosive devices being found and disabled within a period of 10 days.

With the help of the population, security agencies have also had success in
finding and arresting the perpetrators. In one incident, following a grenade
attack on Bakara Market, members of the public helped police to find one of
the attackers who was hiding in a house nearby.

The Al Qaeda-linked extremist group is also continuing to launch small scale
attacks on Amisom and TFG positions on the outskirts of the city.

The attacks, which sometimes occur at night, cause few casualties among the
Amisom troops in the well-fortified positions. Last week, two Amisom
soldiers were injured in separate attacks in the outlying districts of
Deynile and Dharkenley.

Related Stories

enya+asserts/-/2558/1295042/-/70oocrz/-/index.html> We're in Somalia for the
long haul, Kenya asserts
t+Uganda++save+Sudan/-/2558/1291058/-/1598x95/-/index.html> Big rush to cash
in on Somalia, protect Uganda, save Sudan
mpaign++in+Somalia/-/2558/1287192/-/6aebgb/-/index.html> How joining Amisom
will boost Kenya's campaign in Somalia
Why Kenya is not making any strides in the war on Al Shabaab
ltdown/-/2558/1287160/-/mywwjaz/-/index.html> Uganda plays down risks of DR
Congo meltdown


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