“We’re getting a battalion plus 100 trainers from Djibouti. And we are getting a battalion from Sierra Leone and another from Burundi and Uganda,” Wamunyinyi said during celebrations to mark the International Day of Peace, where AMISOM received the International Peace Advocate Award.
Other African Union member states have still not indicated a willingness to contribute troops to AMISOM - which relies heavily on funding and equipment from the international community, but Wamunyinyi says the AU is still optimistic that they will act.
The UN Security Council in December last year authorised AMISOM to increase its number of peacekeepers in Somalia to 12,000 from 8,000 – of which a significant number come from Uganda and Burundi. The council, while appealing to UN member states and regional and international organisations, also extended AMISOM’s mandate through to September 2012.
Wamunyinyi, who is also head of the AMISOM troops in Somalia, revealed that securing Mogadishu was the first phase of the now four-year old AMISOM operation in the lawless Horn of Africa nation. Rwanda’s ambassador to Kenya, George Kayonga said that his country will continue to provide technical support to the mission in Somalia.
“Having secured Mogadishu, we are embarking on consolidating the defenses and making it secure, dealing with environs and neighbourhoods of Mogadishu,” he said, “Then we’ll eventually embark on the next phase.” AU forces have managed to wrestle back over 90 per cent of Mogadishu from the Al-Qaida-linked Al-shabaab. The militants, however, still lay claim to most of Somalia which the UN reports, is the worst hit by the ongoing drought.
“But more important is not deployment, but working on rebuilding Somalia’s security forces. We would like the Somali themselves to take responsibility for the security of their country,” said Wamunyinyi
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