The Foreign affairs minister, Sam Kutesa has called for the expansion of the African Union Mission in Somalia’s (AMISOM) troop numbers.
By Raymond Baguma
KAMPALA - The Foreign affairs minister, Sam Kutesa has called for the expansion of the African Union Mission in Somalia’s (AMISOM) troop numbers, to enable them consolidate the territory so far captured from the Al-shabaab terrorist group.
Minister Kutesa was on Saturday addressing a ministerial meeting for AMISOM troop contributing countries which preceded the summit of Heads of State and government at the Commonwealth Resort Munyonyo.
He said that the AMISOM strategic concept which was developed in 2012, provided for an increase in the level of troop numbers from 12,000 to the current 17,731 which expanded the presence of AMISOM and broadened its mandate.
However, with increased in captured territory from Al-shabaab, there is need to increase the troop numbers up to 20,000 from the current 17,731 in order not to allow Al-shabaab to return.
Leaders from the six countries contributing troops under AMISOM are presently meeting to harmonise the AMISOM operations in Somalia, assess recent developments, challenges faced, successes made and the future ahead.
The meeting to be chaired by President Museveni on Sunday will be attended by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza who are in the country.
Other troop contributing countries include Sierra Leone and Djibouti.
Uganda and Burundi were the first countries to deploy troops in Somalia in March 2007. Presently, Uganda has close to 7,000 troops under AMISOM to fight the Al-qaeda affiliated Al-shabaab insurgents.
He observed that progress has been made by the Somali National Army with support from AMISOM and international partners such as UN and European Union, which has led to the establishment of a parliament, government and a provisional constitution.
“It is essential that this support continues and is carried out by all in a well-coordinated manner, in order to consolidate the security gains made and deny giving extremist groups like Al-shabaab, a new lease of life wherever they are,” said Kutesa.
He said that despite the successes, AMISOM remains overstretched with the lack of force enablers, force multipliers and resourcing constraints threatens long-term success.
Kutesa wants AMISOM troop numbers boosted