Somalia applauds AU decision

2010-07-28 12:52

Mogadishu - Somalia's embattled government on Wednesday hailed the African Union's decision to beef up its force in Mogadishu as a key step towards boosting security in Somalia and the entire region.

"We applaud the fresh troop contributions made by AU states," Abdulkadir Mohamoud Walayo, spokesperson for the transitional federal government, said.

"We believe this decision will help improve the security situation in Somalia and also contain the threat al-Qaeda elements are posing to the region in general," he told AFP.

AU commission chairman Jean Ping, the continental body's top executive, said on Tuesday at the close of a three-day heads of state summit in Kampala that pledges for 4 000 extra troops had been received.

The AU mission in Somalia (Amisom), which currently counts 6 000 soldiers from Uganda and Burundi, has been the only thing preventing al-Qaeda-inspired Shebaab insurgents from punching their way to the presidential palace and completing their power grab.

"Their decision is a lifeline for the transitional government and is good not only for security in Somalia but for security in neighbouring countries," Walayo insisted.

The AU summit was dominated by the crisis in Somalia, which took a regional dimension when suicide attacks claimed by the Shebaab ripped through crowds watching the World Cup final in the Ugandan capital on July 11 killing 76.