AU call for deployment of 4,000 additional troops in Somalia

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AMISOM soldiers from Uganda. Photo credit/Reuters

The current 22000-strong force remains outstretched and can’t be used for mobile activities while their role is primarily confined to a peacekeeping mission.

By Muluneh Gebre, muluneh@alleastafrica.com

ADDIS ABABA – The Military Operations Coordination Committee (MOCC) for the African Union Mission in Somalia AMISOM, in its 22nd meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Tuesday called for deployment of 4,000 additional troops in Somalia

The meeting emphasized the urgency for the UN and the international community to support additional forces of up to 4,000 troops in the provision of rations, fuel, and medical, for a limited duration, to allow for the conduct of offensive operations, as a catalyst for AMISOM imminent draw-down from Somalia.

In the meantime, the MOCC agreed that the AU Commission should convene a planning meeting, which will be hosted by Ethiopia, in Addis Ababa, not later than the first week of February 2017, to finalize the operational plan for the conduct of expanded offensive operations.

The MOCC further agreed that all troop contributing countries shall sign the addendum to the Memorandum of Understanding between the AU and TCCs, as an essential requirement to facilitate the payment of troop allowances for the period from January to September 2016.

At the same time, the MOCC called on the AU, UN and the international community to address AMISOM funding challenges.

The MOCC also called on the AU Commission to elevate the issue of AMISOM funding gap to the upcoming AU Summit, in order for Summit to provide guidance on the way forward.

According to a press release issued by AU, the MOCC reiterated the need for the continued and enhanced support to the Somalia National Army especially in preparation for the envisaged expanded offensive operations.

Chiefs of Defense Staff of AMISOM troop contributing countries (Ethiopia, Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda) or their designated representatives attended the meeting, chaired by the African Union (AU) Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smaïl Chergui.

Representatives of the Somalia National Army, partner countries and institutions namely: the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the European Union and the United Nations also participated in the meeting.

The meeting took place in the wake of the encouraging developments in the evolving outcomes of the electoral process, but also against the backdrop of the need to exchange views and agree on the way forward on the expansion of AMISOM and SNA offensive operations in Somalia as well as the urgent need to address AMISOM prevailing funding gaps.

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