Feb. 25, 2012
The UN security council has voted to increase an African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia to nearly 18,000 troops in a bid to defeat extremist rebels and help stabilise the country after more than two decades of chaos.
The vote to boost the Amisom force of east African troops came as a joint Ethiopian and Somali government offensive wrested control of the central city of Baidoa from the al-Shabaab rebels. It boosted hopes at a conference in London on Thursday aimed at consolidating the government in Mogadishu, bringing greater stability to the country, and combating piracy which has thrived on Somalia's lawless coastline.
Responding to a Guardian report that the British government had considered air strikes against the al-Shabaab militia, which has vowed fealty to al-Qaida, the Somali prime minister, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, said: "Targeted strikes against al-Qaida in Somalia we would welcome. But we have to be sure we protect the lives and safety of Somali citizens."
The UK sponsored the security council resolution that increased the Amisom force and widened its mandate. Speaking after the vote, the British ambassador to Nato, Mark Lyall Grant, said: "For the first time it authorises Amisom to use all necessary means to reduce the threat from al-Shabaab, and therefore to conduct more robust and offensive operations."
Share this news on your social media networks above