Uganda says ready to deploy 5,000 troops in Somalia outside AU, UN mandate

KAMPALA, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) — The Ugandan military on Thursday said it is ready to deploy 5,000 troops in Somalia outside the African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) mandate for an all-out offensive operations against the Al-Shabaab militants.

Brig. Richard Karemire, the military and defense spokesperson, told Xinhua that Uganda as a Pan-Africanist country is ready to send the troops as long as the international community commits resources for the operation.

“We are always ready to deploy such a number and even more as a country and Pan-Africanists. We need some support somewhere,” said Karemire.

Karemire said there are many rules to operate under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) which sometimes may hinder the elimination of the militants.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is reported to have told Donald Yamamoto, acting U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs in September that Uganda is ready to deploy additional 5,000 troops to strengthen the military operations of the AMISOM.

Museveni told Yamamoto that the east African country would only send more troops to Somalia if the international community commits to regular funding, donates military equipment, force enablers and multipliers such as attack helicopters for the operations against the insurgents.

The comments by the Ugandan military come shortly after the Special Representative of the African Union Chairperson for Somalia, Francisco Madeira announced on Tuesday that some 1,000 soldiers from the 22,000 strong force will be withdrawn from Somalia by Dec. 31.

AMISOM is comprised of troops drawn from Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti. Uganda provides the bulk of the force.