14 October 2013

Somalia: African Leaders Endorse Expansion of Amisom Forces

The African Union (AU) Friday (October 11th) endorsed a move to boost its Somalia force by 35% to step up its fight against al-Shabaab, AFP reported.

The AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) will be boosted by 6,235 troops, taking the total number to 23,966, the AU's Peace and Security Council said in a statement.

The decision comes in the wake of last month's deadly al-Shabaab attack on Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall.

The AU said "renewed efforts" were needed to fight al-Shabaab and that it was deeply concerned by "the serious threat that al-Shabaab continues to pose in Somalia and in the region."

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who attended the AU summit in Addis Ababa at the weekend, praised the "overwhelming support" of African leaders in calling for the expansion of the AMISOM and in working to improve security in Somalia.

"The expansion of AMISOM will hugely help to sustain the military campaign against terrorists and get rid of al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda in Somalia," Mohamud said. "Africa has shown total unity in fighting extremism, which is critical to maintain momentum in the war we are winning."

The call to expand AMISOM forces will now be put to the UN Security Council for endorsement.

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