Special to NNPA from the GIN –
(GIN) – African leaders will send thousands of new troops to Somalia in a U.S.-funded effort to defeat an insurgent faction that now controls most of that East African country.
The pledges came at an African Union summit which ended Tuesday. The summit began only days after twin bombings in Kampala, Uganda, during the World Cup, that were linked to the Somali insurgent group Al Shabab.
The new surge will by comprised of 2,000 Ugandans and Burundians to the African Union mission in Somalia, known as AMISOM, boosting levels from 6,000 to the maximum mandate of 8,000.
According to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Johnnie Carson, a stronger AU force could defeat al-Shabab which has grown in size and strength despite U.S. training, logistical support and equipment worth more than $176 million since 2007.
To complete the mission, African Union leaders are requesting helicopters from Western donors to allow the AU troops to take offensive action against the insurgents. Currently the peacekeeping forces can only respond to attacks or when they see militants.
But large-scale intervention by foreign troops may create even more anti-Western forces as had occurred when the Somalis confronted U.S.-backed Ethiopians in a raid on Mogadishu in 2007.
“AU troops cannot police all of Somalia,” said David Shinn, former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia, in a press interview. Shinn, one of the coordinators of U.S. policy in Somalia in the early 1990s, said that the failure of U.S. and U.N. involvement in the country showed large-scale foreign intervention would not work. "That was not the solution then and it will not be now," Shinn said.
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