African Union Security Chief Visits Somalia
20 March 2007
The head of the African Union's Peace and Security Council is in Mogadishu to investigate the country's security situation and to meet with Ugandan troops who are stationed there as part of the A.U. peacekeeping force for Somalia. Cathy Majtenyi reports for VOA from Nairobi.
AU Commissioner Sa'id Djinnit met with Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf, Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi, and other officials during his one-day visit.
He also visited Ugandan troops stationed in the capital.
Since their arrival on March 6, the 1,500 troops from Uganda have frequently been under attack, with two peacekeepers being injured.
Peace and security official Geoffrey Mugumya tells VOA that it was important for Djinnit to meet with the troops and with officials of Somalia's interim government, known as the TFG.
"The commissioner went there because, since the deployment, he had not gone there, so he went there to give confidence to the troops," he said. "He also had to talk to the TFG officials and see how the deployment is going on."
In general, there have been almost daily mortar and other attacks from insurgents that have left dozens of people dead within the past few months.
In addition to investigating the security situation, Djinnit was also scheduled to assess the effectiveness of the A.U. peacekeeping mission.
Peace and security official Mugumya tells VOA the force has been hampered by a lack of resources, but said the last of the troops and equipment arrived Monday and the mission can now move forward.
Uganda is among the first countries to contribute to the AU peacekeeping force for Somalia. Burundi and Nigeria have also offered soldiers, with Malawi and Ghana said to be considering the prospect.
The force, when complete, is expected to number 8,000 soldiers.
Since Somalia's civil war broke out in 1991, militias loyal to clan and sub-clan-based factions have controlled different parts of the country, with no central authority to provide law and order or basic services to the population.
A transitional Somali parliament was formed in Kenya more than two years ago, following a regionally led peace process.
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