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Ugandan president says AU peacekeeping force to be stepped up to 20,000

07-15-2010 13:43 BJT

NTUNGAMO, Uganda, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said at a press briefing here that the AU peacekeeping force in Somalia would be stepped up to 20,000 from the current 4, 300.

Museveni told a press briefing at his country house in Ntungamo district, western Uganda, that the enforcement would be discussed at the next Inter-governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) summit, but declined to divulge the details.

IGAD brings together Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda focusing on regional cooperation in areas of common interest of the member states.

If an agreement can be reached within the framework of IGAD, the AU peacekeeping mission in Somalia would be substantially enforced.

He further disclosed that Uganda is to launch offensive both in Uganda and Somalia against al Shabaab, an armed Somali faction allegedly responsible for three bomb blasts late Sunday night that killed 74 people including over a dozen of foreigners in Kampala.

He, however, called for Ugandans not to attack Somali community in Uganda, and blamed the attacks on the laxity of the security agencies and the public.

Uganda and Burundi are the only countries contributing peacekeepers to Somalia under the AU. Security experts say that an earlier required force by AU of 8,000 peacekeepers cannot meet the demand of the situation now, recommending a much stronger 27,000 force to be deployed.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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