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Ethiopia: IGAD Defense chiefs consult Somalia action plan

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By Tesfa–Alem Tekle

July 22, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) — Military heads from the regional body of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) held meeting in Addis Ababa to discuses on ways of taking action to support the fragile Somali government which is under continuous attack from the terrorist affiliated Al-Shabab insurgent group.

The three-day meeting held behind closed doors ended yesterday outlining strategies, the logistics and all the necessary resources needed to restore law and order in the war ravaged country.

The military chiefs, experts of defense staff drawn from, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan and Somalia have thoroughly discussed the recent pledge made by IGAD members to urgently deploy 2000 peacekeepers in Somalia.

Accordingly, the military representatives have set an action plan they said could best confront the challenges Somalia is facing.

The resolution which also looked into when, how and which country deploys troops will be presented to the AU Executive Council sitting being held in Kampala.

The Latest Addis Ababa meeting comes after Somalia’s Al-shabab insurgent group claimed responsibility of carrying out last week’s twin bomb attacks in Kampala which claimed the lives of some75 people including Ethiopian and Eritrean nationals.

In their last IGAD head of state meeting in Addis Ababa, member countries have pledged to raise the number of the peacekeeping forces to 8100 by the end of August.

Pledged to send additional 2,000 troops to Somalia, Uganda has about 3,400 troops, whereas Burundi has 1,600 troops on ground.

Al-Shabaab militants have threatened to carry out more attacks in their soil unless Uganda and Burundi withdraw their peacekeepers from the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia (AMISOM).

The July 11 terrorist attacks in Kampala is said to be "a wake-up call" to African countries to unite and put in place measures to end the 19-year Somalia civil war that threatens regional security.

(ST)

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