World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Ugandan Peacekeepers Dismiss Somali Islamic Threat


By Alisha Ryu
Nairobi
15 November 2007

Ugandan Peacekeepers Dismiss Threat by Somali Islamic Militants

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.

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.

ENDS

More: Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: Is This Guy The World’s Most Dangerous Thirtysomething?

Saudi Arabia has long been regarded as a pillar of stability in the Middle East, and is the essential caterer to the West’s fossil fuel needs. It is also the country that gave us Osama Bin Laden, al Qaeda, and 15 of the 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks... More>>

ALSO:

Non-Binding Postal Vote: Australia Says Yes To Same Sex Marriage

Binoy Kampmark: Out of 150 federal seats, 133 registered affirmative totals in returning their response to the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”. More>>

ALSO:

Bonn Climate Change Conference: Protecting Health In Small Island States

The vision is that, by 2030, all Small Island Developing States will have health systems that are resilient to climate change and countries around the world will be reducing their carbon emissions both to protect the most vulnerable from climate risks and deliver large health benefits in carbon-emitting countries. More>>

ALSO:

Camp Shut Down: Refugees Must Be Rescued From Manus

On 31st October 2017, the detention centre on Manus Island in which the Australian Government has been holding more than 700 refugees was closed, leaving those living there in a desperate situation. More>>

ALSO:

EARLIER:

Rohingya Muslims Massacred: Restrictions On Aid Put 1000s At Risk

Amnesty: The Myanmar authorities’ restrictions on international aid in Rakhine state is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in a region where mainly Rohingya people are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign. More>>

ALSO: