Ugandan troops begin phased withdrawal from Somalia

Lester Mason
December 7, 2017

Uganda's military has begun withdrawing dozens of its troops from a regional force in Somalia, a military official said Thursday, marking the beginning of the end of an African Union team that has battled violent Islamic extremists. The move announced on Wednesday is part of a United Nations plan that will see African Union (AU) soldiers' numbers reduced by 1,000 by the end of this year. Richard Karemire told Xinhua that phased withdrawal is in compliance with the African Union- and United Nations-approved reduction of 1,000 uniformed personnel serving under African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) by the December 31 deadline.

AMISOM now has 20,000 soldiers serving with the organisation and Uganda the biggest contributor has 6,000 soldiers in total serving with the mission.

Uganda was the first country to deploy troops under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in March 2007, according to the mission's website.

The US has already increased its troop numbers in the country to more than 500 and stepped up airstrikes - boosting its co-operation with the Somali military.

Troops from Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sierra Leone make up the AMISOM force.

It is unknown why the African countries and the African Union have made a decision to withdraw troops at this time.

But defeating the militant Islamist Al-Shabaab group will not be easy.

The combined forces had managed to clear the capital Mogadishu, and large swathes of the countryside of Al Shabaab, but over the a year ago or so the group has managed to resume large-scale attacks targeting the government, military and civilians, culminating in the more than 500 people killed in the capital in October during a twin bombing.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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