Uganda says AU peacekeepers to quit Somalia if Ethiopian forces go

Uganda on Friday confirmed that the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia will pull out should Ethiopia stick to its promise of withdrawing its troops before the end of the year, reported dpa.

"If the Ethiopians pull out ... the AU force will pull out because it will not have adequate numbers," James Mugume, permanent secretary at the Ugandan Foreign Ministry, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

The Ethiopian government in late November said it would extract its several thousand soldiers unconditionally by the end of the year.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on Thursday broke the news that the AU force would also leave and promised to help the Ugandan and Burundian peacekeepers, numbering around 3,000, to pull out.

Ethiopian forces invaded in 2006 to help kick out the Islamic Courts' Union (ICU) - a hardline Islamist regime that was in power for six months.

A bloody insurgency in Southern and Central Somalia then kicked off in early 2007.

Aid agencies say around 10,000 civilians have died and over 1 million have fled as al-Shabaab, a militant splinter group of the ICU, has made huge gains.

The insurgent group is now perched on the edge of Mogadishu and is on the verge of over-running the squabbling and ineffective Transitional Federal Government.

Should both Ethiopia and the AU leave, the only force standing between the insurgents and victory would be a collection of pro- government armed militia and poorly trained recruits.

Mugume said that the AU force would only remain in Somalia if long- standing calls for a UN peacekeeping force to be deployed were answered.

"If the Ethiopians are replaced by other troops like UN peacekeepers, a number of about 8,000, we will stay," he said.

However, the UN has appeared reluctant to deploy and analysts say this is unlikely to change.

"I don't think there is a realistic prospect for substitute troops," Roger Middleton, Horn of Africa analyst at London-based think tank Chatham House, told dpa.

The AU force was supposed to have been much larger, but many nations have failed to meet their commitments. As a result, the AU force is undermanned and overwhelmed.

Middleton said that the AU peacekeepers would have little choice but to leave should the Ethiopians stick to their promise to go.

"If the Ugandans stayed ... they would become greater targets," he said. "Even if they stayed, I don't think they would have a stabilizing impact. Their force is tiny and can't even secure (Mogadishu) airport."

Hardline Islamists have refused to talk peace unless the Ethiopians first left Somalia, but it is not clear if they will now come to the table or continue to advance.

Al-Shabaab has already rejected a peace deal agreed between moderate opposition figures and the government.

There are fears that in the absence of the common enemy, the Ethiopians, the insurgent groups will splinter and begin fighting, creating more chaos.

However, Middleton said that the worst-case scenario would be that al-Shabaab remained united and decided to finish off the government.

"The scariest scenario is that al-Shabaab holds together ... and we see an al-Shabaab regime with the attended radicalization of the population."

The US says that al-Shabaab has links to al-Qaeda. In May it launched an airstrike that killed al-Shabaab leader Aden Hashi Ayro.

Al-Shabaab has also been implementing strict sharia, or Islamic law, in the towns it has seized from the government.

So far this year, a teenage girl has been stoned to death for adultery after being raped and people have been whipped for dancing and playing music.

The developments are also unlikely to be good news for plans to fight a surge in piracy off Somalia, which peaked with the recent seizure of a Saudi supertanker carrying crude oil worth 100 million dollars.

Delegates at a international conference on Thursday said that piracy was inextricably linked to the insecurity in Somalia and called for stronger efforts to help build a stable government.

The Horn of Africa nation has been plagued by chaos and civil war since the ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

TRT World aires documentary on devastating effects of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict (VIDEO)
TRT World aires documentary on devastating effects of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict (VIDEO)
Georgian expert: Armenian authorities controlling separatist regime in Karabakh crossed red line
Georgian expert: Armenian authorities controlling separatist regime in Karabakh crossed red line
Deputy FM: Rejecting proposals to resolve conflict, Armenian leadership makes negotiations meaningless
Deputy FM: Rejecting proposals to resolve conflict, Armenian leadership makes negotiations meaningless
Loading Bars
American Airlines to get $5.5 bn loan from US Treasury
Togo's prime minister and government resign, presidency says
Brazil exceeds 140,000 deaths from COVID-19
124 illegal immigrants rescued off Libyan coast: UN
Seventeen more coronavirus patients die in Moscow in past day — crisis center
U.S. COVID-19 cases surpass 7 mln -- Johns Hopkins University
FAA chief set to conduct 737 MAX evaluation flight next week
UK pledges over $400 million for WHO, calls for end to 'ugly rifts'
Military plane crashes in Ukraine, killing 22
UAE reports 1,008 new COVID-19 cases, 89,540 in total
Turkmen textile company reveales production volume
Coronavirus cases pass half-million mark in France
Kazakhstan's export to Romania decreases amid COVID-19
TRT World aires documentary on devastating effects of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict (VIDEO)
Inflow of Turkish labor migrants to France plunges to record low
Iran's trade with EU declines
Google to block election ads after November 3
Police officer shot dead at custody centre in London
Turkmen textile company talks impact of COVID-19 on exports
Level of dollarization on individuals' bank deposits in Azerbaijan increase
Georgia reveals volume of processed grapes as of Sept.25
Rise in COVID-19 cases in Turkey now under control, health minister assures
Azerbaijani president: According to our intelligence, very serious military training under way
President Ilham Aliyev: Armenia is preparing for war
President Ilham Aliyev: Region has not become a safer place, unfortunately, situation is deteriorating
US embassy in Azerbaijan urges to reconsider non-essential travel outside Absheron Peninsula
Global COVID-19 death toll could hit two million before vaccine in wide use: WHO
'Intellectual Field' to allow stabilize production level in Kazakhstan
Iran's auto giants to talk over hybrid vehicles production
Azerbaijani ministry discloses volume of toxic emissions from cars
Georgian expert: Armenian authorities controlling separatist regime in Karabakh crossed red line
Azerbaijani minister of economy reviews activity of industrial enterprises in Ganja (PHOTO)
Volume of maritime cargo transshipment from Portugal via Turkey disclosed
Tactical-special and combat training classes underway in Azerbaijan (PHOTO/VİDEO)
EBRD and FAO to assist Georgia in field of agro tourism
Uzbekistan to be supplied with Russian coronavirus vaccines
Uzbekistan, Tajikistan to maintain Uzbek energy and water resources balance
Azerbaijan’s Bakcell preparing discounts for teachers within project
UK study shows rapid test has diagnostic sensitivity over 99%
Kazakhstan's grain export volume revealed
Amazon hiring 150 employees in Israel
Baku Higher Oil School on top of grade ranking among universities in Azerbaijan
Mortgage lending via state line in Azerbaijan up
Russia leading exporter of polymer products to Turkmenistan
Volume of deposits up in Georgia
September occupancies up in Georgian regional hotels
Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan strengthening co-op in medical tourism
Rates of dollarization on loans and deposits up in Georgia
Volume of deposits in Azerbaijan grows
Russia increases exports of frozen vegetables to Turkmenistan
Bakcell talks about network congestion and secure internet
Azerbaijani banks increase lending to clients
Iranian government is modernizing agriculture in Tehran Province
Italy lowers import of Turkish cars
Loans and deposits, expressed as percentage of GDP, increase in Georgia
Netherlands increase export volume to Kazakhstan year-on-year
Georgian hazelnuts exports up
Azerbaijan's Anglo Asian Mining reveals 1H2020 income
Several industrial projects to be implemented in Kazakhstan's Almaty
Azerbaijan's Azexport portal to place insurance services
Sooner Armenia withdraws its armed forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, sooner the conflict will be resolved (PHOTO)
Moscow reports 1,560 new coronavirus cases, highest since June 12
Azerbaijani schoolchildren perform successfully at 32nd International Olympiad in Informatics (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan confirms 137 more COVID-19 recoveries
ADB: Developed capital markets enhance financial stability in Azerbaijan
Covid-19 daily infections swell 12% to new record
Energy efficiency to be increased at Uzbek manufacturing enterprises
Shell books tanker to load crude at Libya's Zueitina oil port
Turkmenistan’s Oil Refineries extends tender for gasoline purchase
Kazakhstan's QazTech Ventures to fund Uzbek startups
Gas exports from Azerbaijan to Turkey significantly up
VTB Bank, Entrepreneurship Development Fund of Azerbaijan issuing loans to businesses
Azerbaijani FM receives ambassador of Greece
Vietnam interested in import of Azerbaijani products
EU working with Georgian partners to strengthen cybersecurity in country
Azerbaijani ministry talks introduction of contactless payment in public transport in districts
Central Bank of Azerbaijan to hold deposit auction
Azerbaijan discloses data on tobacco exports for 2019
BP: Oil demand to remain central part of energy system for next 10–15 years
Azerbaijani MP: Armenia resettling terrorists to Nagorno-Karabakh region, facts prove ASALA's presence
Apple says has always abided by Irish law as EU appeals court ruling
Precious metal prices in Azerbaijan up again after decline
Iran assigns housing units to low income
Money supply increased in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan to export fuel diesel to Pakistan
Georgia reveals volume of premiums attracted by insurance companies
UN highlights Azerbaijani president’s speech at 75th session of UN General Assembly
Kazakhstan's largest oil pipeline company to buy power stations via tender
LNG demand to double over next 20 years
Volume of gas production by Turkmenistan’s Lebapgazchykarysh revealed
Expert talks putting Azerbaijan's domestic tourism back on its feet
Deputy FM: Rejecting proposals to resolve conflict, Armenian leadership makes negotiations meaningless
Road in border village of Azerbaijan’s Gazakh district being overhauled (PHOTO)
Israeli politician: We find Azerbaijan a good friend of Israel
Around 6,000 people internationally wanted by Russia
Buffett-following investment trust to list in London
EU Special Representative: EU has strong interest in peace, stability in South Caucasus
Georgia reports 265 new cases of coronavirus
Instagram fixes breach found by Check Point
US’ share in Azerbaijan's total imports grows
All news