Home | News    Sunday 8 January 2012

AU force to replace Ethiopian troops in Somalia


January 7, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) - Ethiopian forces will pullout from Somalia, as the African Union extends its peacekeeping mandate for its troops in the war torn nation, the pan African body has said.

Ethiopia recently reentered hundreds of its forces to Somalia where the troops last Saturday captured the border town of Baladwayne from the hands of Islamic militants, Al-Shabaab.

After the unilateral military intervention, Addis Ababa now says it will soon pull out of the Horn of Africa country but would not join the African Union operation against Al-Quaida-linked Al-Shabaab. Addis Ababa said the areas it controls would be handed over to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

On Thursday the AU’s Peace and Security Council, extended the mandate of its peace force in Somalia by 12 months. It further asked the UN to boost the size of AMISOM to above 17,000 in order to step up efforts to defeat the militant group.

Currently AMISOM has some 10,000 troops from Uganda and Burundi. Djibouti contributed 200 troops last month.

The Al-Shabaab insurgent group is facing opposition on a number of fronts as Kenya, who blames the group for a wave of cross-border attacks and kidnappings, is also fighting them in Southern Somalia.

Ethiopia previously sent troops to Somalia in 2006 with US backing and withdrew forces in 2009 after they overthrew the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) from de-facto power in Mogadishu.

On Saturday the UK issued a warning that a terrorist attack by Somali militants was potentially imminent in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.


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