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Somalia: Uganda wants Somalia mandate to be reviewed 

Mogadishu Thursday 1 October 2009 SMC

Defence minister Crispus Kiyonga has said the mandate of the peacekeeping force in Somalia needs to be reviewed.
 
Briefing Parliament yesterday, the minister said the African Union (AU) force, composed mostly of Ugandan soldiers, should be allowed to attack.
 
“As per now, the mandate is very restrictive. It is framed in a way that they cannot attack. They might even know that the insurgents are planning an attack but they cannot attack them,” he said.
 
The idea was welcomed by the majority of MPs. The legislators demanded that the review be expedited.
 
Kiyonga also briefed Parliament about a meeting he chaired last week with defence ministers of Burundi and Somalia and representatives of the AU and the UN.
 
The meeting, he said, agreed to fast-track the training of Somali security forces. He explained that Djibouti, Rwanda, Tanzania, and two West African countries were willing to participate in the training.
 
Kiyonga, however, raised concerns about the slow pace of disbursing funds for the Somalia operation. By last week, only $37m out of the $213m pledged had been sent.
 
On the mysterious deaths among the peacekeepers that occurred in July, the minister explained that four Burundians and three Ugandans died due to lack of Vitamin B1.
 
He said the situation had been contained by improving the diet, including adding fruits.
 
A total of 45 Ugandan soldiers have died since the AU operation started in March 2007. Of those, 22 died at the hands of the insurgents, 22 of natural diseases and one committed suicide.
 
On September 17, four Ugandans were killed when suicide bombers drove two UN cars into the peacekeepers’ compound at Mogadishu airport.
 
These attacks would not deter the AU force, Kiyonga noted, adding that in the long run, the stand-by African force should be able to handle volatile situations like Somalia.
 
SOURCE: THE NEW VISION

Somaliweyn Media Center “SMC”

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Muqdisho Somalia

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