31 October 2013

Somalia: UN Security Council Likely to Endorse Amisom Troop Increase

Photo: United Nations
A Somali girl crosses a street on her way to school while soldiers of AMISOM’s Djiboutian contingent stand guard.

The United Nations Security Council met Wednesday (October 30th) to consider increasing resources and troops for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which diplomats say is essential to eliminating the ongoing threat from al-Shabaab.

The council is expected to vote in favour of a 4,000-troop increase, bringing the new upper limit for AMISOM personnel in Somalia to 22,000, AFP reported.

UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson told the council that AMISOM had made significant gains against al-Shabaab, but recently their efforts have "ground to a halt" because it lacked a sufficient number of troops.

"[Al-Shabaab] is mobile and is training and recruiting substantial numbers of frustrated, unemployed young men," Eliasson told the council.

He reaffirmed a call by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the African Union for "a significant temporary boost" to AMISOM's numbers.

The African Union has said it needs an additional 2,550 infantry troops and 1,800 support forces.

Ban said in a recent report to the Security Council that there was an urgent need to reinforce AMISOM to move into southern Somalia to "deny al-Shabaab the opportunity to raise resources and to forcefully recruit and train personnel".

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