(eTN) – The African Union mission in Somalia, presently short of the envisaged 8,100 troops, may soon see up to 2,000 more Ugandan personnel arrive, according to the latest reports released in Kampala. In an act of absolute defiance to the terrorists and their godfathers, an army spokesperson announced late last week that Uganda is capable and willing to send more troops should other African nations not contribute to make up the gap between troops estimates and those on the ground.
Presently, it is only Uganda and Burundi supporting the African Union’s peace-keeping mission, but more countries have signaled, in the wake of the terror attacks, to send troops and material, while the forthcoming AU Summit in Kampala, due to start this week, is also thought to consider a change of mandate to permit the AU forces to engage militias before being attacked. Presently they are only able to defend against attacks but cannot pre-empt them, a flaw which has cost many lives in Mogadishu as the contingent has to wait to be fired upon before being able to open fire themselves. The summit is also considering a further change of rules, which would permit countries with borders to Somalia to contribute troops, opening the way for Ethiopian forces to return under an AU mandate.
President Museveni last week also vowed to take the fight to the terrorist bases in Somalia, and in the process it is also hoped that the pirates’ nests also become a target of the AU troops to support the aims of the naval coalition at sea, to stop this menace. Pirate ransom has in the past, according to reliable sources, also found its way into the coffers of Islamic militant groups, allowing them to purchase supplies and making it necessary to combat both menaces at once with greater determination. One thing is clear, in spite of the terrorists’ atrocities committed on 7/11, Uganda will NOT be intimidated but will continue to do all the country can within its limited resources to join the international community in the fight against terror.
In a related development, it was also announced to the media in Kampala that as many as 12 suspects are now in custody and are being interrogated, including one suspect nabbed in Kenya and immediately handed over to the Ugandan authorities.