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AU delays funding Somali mission

By Vision Reporter

Added 7th May 2007 03:00 AM

THE African Union has delayed paying allowances to the Ugandan peace-keepers in Somalia since they deployed two months ago.

THE African Union has delayed paying allowances to the Ugandan peace-keepers in Somalia since they deployed two months ago.

By Felix Osike

THE African Union has delayed paying allowances to the Ugandan peace-keepers in Somalia since they deployed two months ago.

“They have not been given the money yet,” army spokesman Maj. Felix Kulayigye confirmed yesterday.

He said the Ugandan defence ministry, however, had paid the troops their normal salaries. The AU was was supposed to pay for food and transport.
In the deal signed with the AU, every soldier on the African peacekeeping mission would receive an allowance of $400 on top of their normal salary, while another $100 would go to the government.

Injured soldiers were to be compensated at a rate of between $100,000 and $150,000 depending on the degree of injuries, according to the agreement. In case of death, the family was to receive $100,000.

But the funds have not been forthcoming.
The EU pledged 15 million euros ($20m) for the Somali operation, while Britain, the US, Norway and France also pledged support. It is not clear whether the money has not yet arrived or whether it is stuck at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.

The chairman of the AU Commission, Alpha Konare, two weeks ago declared that lack of funds was hampering the deployment of other peacekeepers.

“Countries like Burundi, Nigeria, Ghana and others have pledged troops but they cannot deploy due to financial problems. If other countries do not commit troops soon, it will be a total disaster for Africa,” Konare said during a press conference in Kampala on April 27.

The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, acknowledged the problem but said stabilising the country was more important.

“We are aware of the constraints. But what is more important is that there is no more war in Mogadishu. Our soldiers are participating in humanitarian work. They are doing well as they wait for others to come is,” he told The New Vision yesterday.

An 8,000-strong AU force is needed to stabilise war-ravaged Somalia.
But only 4,000 have been found and only 1,500 Ugandans have been deployed so far.

Maj. Gen. Benon Biraaro, who was recently appointed to the AU Planning Unit in Addis Ababa, confirmed that the peace-keepers in Darfur and in Somalia had not yet been paid allowances.

AU delays funding Somali mission

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