African Union summit: As leaders discuss Somalia, fighting rages there
Heads of state gathering at the African Union summit in Kampala, Uganda, pledged to strengthen the AU peacekeeping force in Somalia. Meanwhile, fighting in the past few days has killed scores in Somalia.
Leaders at this week's African Union summit in Uganda pledged to strengthen the AU peacekeeping force in Somalia. But fresh fighting there underscored the difficulties involved in any attempt to stabilize the war-wracked nation.Skip to next paragraph
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Two weeks after suspected suicide blasts killed 76 people watching the World Cup final in Uganda's capital, Kampala, 35 African heads of state agreed to bolster the AU’s mission to Somali (AMISOM) by 2,000 to its full mandated strength of 8,000 troops.
The twin blasts were claimed by the Al Qaeda-linked Somali militant group, Al Shabab, as revenge for the allegedly indiscriminate shelling of civilians by Ugandan peacekeepers in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu. They prompted calls from Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni for Africa to unite and “sweep” those responsible out of the continent.
Despite hopes that other countries would come on board – and the announcement from AU chairman Jean Ping that Guinea and Djibouti would be sending troops to Somalia – the 2,000 troops will come from the only two nations already contributing to the force: Uganda and Burundi.
Delegates backed down from Ugandan demands to strengthen the mandate from peacekeeping to peace enforcement – which would have allowed the AU troops to actively pursue Al Shabab militants – but did agree to push for new rules of engagement for the mission that could see the force allowed to respond more forcefully to Al Shabab aggression.