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Ugandan Peacekeepers Dismiss Threat by Somali Islamic Militants

Issue 304
Front Page
Index
Headlines

Puntland Security Forces Defect To Somaliland

Somaliland Government Proposes New ‘Press Law’ To Gag the Free Press & Take its assets.

Town Youths Surrender Deadly Explosives To Somaliland Officials In Las Anod

Interim Qaran Leaders Released After being Held Overnight in Police Custody

Ethiopia Tightening Grip On Somalia — Or Losing It?

Las Anod Local Authority Begins Cleaning The Town

Dubai World Subsidiary Buys Daallo Airlines In Joint Venture With Founders, Djibouti Government

European parliament calls for war crimes probe in Somalia

War without end

President Abdillahi Yusuf Asked To Clarify Government’s Position On Press Freedom

US Africa command will aid security: general

Somalia: an opening towards the end of the impasse

Regional Affairs

Landmine kills 10 in Somaliland

Somaliland: Police Arrest Officials, Supporters Of QARAN Party

Editorial
Special Report

International News

The 'Great Circle of Crisis': Britain's War Plan Against the American System

Farah Roble Aden & Sean Langan Win The Hard News & Features Awards At The 2007 Rory Peck Awards

Lame Ducks, Lame Hawks?

FEATURES & COMMENTARY

An Auschwitz For Africa

Rumsfeld Kept Bogey Of Terror Alive To Rally Americans For War

Challenges To The Modern Commonwealth

Africa: New Improved Disaster Response Tool

EMU, Somaliland University Hope Exchange Program Fosters Peace

Food for thought

Opinions

Open Letter To Somaliland Finance Minister

Freedom Of Press

To save SHURO-Net is to help promote Human Rights in Somaliland

Viva Ali Gulaid

Free Press: An Integral Part Of A Democratic System

The Detention Of QARAN Leaders

Over Seven Ministries And Two Mayors Apologized, But The Minister Of Sports And Youth Still Denies

Somaliland and the press law


Ugandan peace keepers in Mogadishu

By Alisha Ryu Nairobi

The spokesman for the Ugandan army says Uganda's 1,600 peacekeeping troops in Somalia will stay in the capital Mogadishu and defend themselves against any attack by militant Somali Islamists, whose leader has vowed to destroy the African Union force. VOA Correspondent Alisha Ryu has more from our East Africa Bureau in Nairobi.

Ugandan army spokesman Major Felix Kulayigye tells VOA the threat by the head of the radical Somali group, known as the Shabbab, is being taken seriously.

But he says if the intent of the threat was to prompt Uganda to end its peacekeeping mission in Somalia and withdraw, it will not work.

"For us, it will not make us run away," he said. "We have maintained a neutral stance, so it will not change our position. However, should we get targeted, as they have done before, we shall defend ourselves."

On Wednesday, the elusive founder and leader of the Shabbab, Adan Hashi Ayro, is believed to have posted an audio recording on a Somali Web site, urging his fighters not to differentiate between Ugandan soldiers and Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu and to destroy the peacekeeping force.

Ayro, who was trained by al-Qaida in Afghanistan and is on a U.S. list of terror suspects, was a top military commander in the Islamic Courts Union before the Islamists lost power in an Ethiopia-led offensive last December.

Since then, Shabbab fighters have led a fierce insurgency against tens of thousands of remaining Ethiopian troops in Somalia, and against the secular Somali interim government supported by the government in Addis Ababa and the United States.

In May, two months after the Ugandans began arriving in Mogadishu as the vanguard force of a planned 8,000-strong African Union peacekeeping mission to Somalia, four Ugandan soldiers were killed and five others wounded in a roadside bomb attack.

The Shabbab, which at the time was also known as the Mujahideen Youth Movement, claimed responsibility for the bombing. But there has not been another major attack against the Ugandan force since, and in July, its six-month mandate was extended until January.

Uganda has expressed deep disappointment in other African Union countries, including Burundi, Ghana, Malawi, and Nigeria, for failing to contribute troops. The overall peacekeeping mission was to have been comprised of nine infantry battalions of 850 soldiers each, supported by maritime and air components, as well as a police training team.

Speaking to VOA Wednesday in Nairobi on the sidelines of an African Union conference to discuss the Somali peacekeeping mission, the AU's Director for Peace and Support Department Geoffrey Mugumya said Malawi has withdrawn its offer to send troops to Somalia, but he was hopeful that the others would fulfill their commitments.

" Nigeria promised, Ghana promised, and Burundi is almost ready [for deployment]," he said. "What is remaining is the signing of the memorandum of understanding between the AU and Burundi. Hopefully, we might do it before the end of the week, and once it is done, they will be on the ground."

There has been no official comment from officials in Burundi about the threat by militants to kill peacekeepers in Somalia.

Source: VOA


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