Troops Needed For Somali Chaos

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Africa News Update


Somalia's chaos will not end until thousands more troops are deployed in a much-delayed African

peacekeeping force, the African Union says. 

Opening a three-day AU summit, the bloc's top diplomat, Alpha Oumar Konare, also called for

accelerated talks between Somalia's interim government and representatives of the country's complex clan

network and other groups. 

"We need to speed up the political dialogue in Somalia," Konare said, in reference to a twice-delayed

reconciliation conference now slated for July 17. 

He expressed impatience over the slow deployment of a proposed AU peacekeeping force of 8,000 troops in


Only 1,600 Ugandan soldiers have been sent to Mogadishu despite pledges at the last AU summit six

months ago to boost the force to at least 4,000. Islamist insurgents stage daily guerrilla attacks. 

Paying tribute to the Ugandans, who have suffered several casualties, Konare said: "If there were other

troops that joined the Ugandan troops, we would be playing a different role.

"Let us be realistic. Unless and until there is a strengthening of the African troops, we will have


Somalia's interim government, the 14th attempt to impose central government since the 1991 overthrow of

a dictator, is struggling to impose order after ousting Islamists with the help of Ethiopian troops

last Christmas. 

Underlining the instability, explosions and gunfire rocked Mogadishu on Sunday only hours after President

Abdullahi Yusuf promised to stem the insurgency.

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