UN seeks surge in Somalia fight against Shabaab

2013-10-31 13:39
(AFP, File)

(AFP, File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New York - The war against al-Shabaab militants in Somalia has "ground to a halt" and needs a surge of almost 4 400 more African Union troops and massive UN assistance to break the stalemate and avoid failure, a top UN official said on Wednesday.

Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told the Security Council that the UN-endorsed African Union force and the Somali military lack "the capacity to push beyond areas already recovered" from al-Qaeda-linked group in the last 18 months during a successful campaign to recapture several cities, including Mogadishu and Kismayo.

Eliasson presented the Security Council with recommendations from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that the AU force be boosted by 2 550 combat troops and 1 845 ground-support troops for the next 18 to 24 months.

Ban also called for another 1 000 troops for a UN guard force to prevent attacks like the recent suicide bombing at the UN compound in Mogadishu, and for another 840 police officers.

On 19 June, al-Shabaab forces invaded the UN compound in Mogadishu with a truck bomb and then poured inside, killing at least 13 people before dying in the assault. It was the first direct attack on a UN building in Somalia since 2008.

If the Security Council approves the additional troops, that would boost the force to about 24 000 personnel, up from its current level of just over 17 700 soldiers and police.

"It is hard to ask for additional resources in our present difficult financial environment," Eliasson said. "But it is my duty to advise this council that, without increased support, our present — and indeed past — investment in peace, and that of millions of Somalis, may be lost."

The Security Council is focused on the al-Shabab threat after the September attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, by al-Shabab terrorists in which at least 67 people were killed.

The AU mission in Somalia is meant to pave the way for an eventual UN peacekeeping force. It is led by Ugandan officers and has large Kenya and Burundi contingents.

Somalia has long been plagued by cyclical drought and famine and decades of armed conflict. But in recent years it has been seen as making strides in security and governance, particularly since August 2011, when al-Qaeda-aligned militants were forced out of Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab militants still control much of the country's south.

Read more on:    un  |  al-shabaab  |  al-qaeda  |  au  |  somalia  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.