African Union Head Blasts Lack of Somalia Response

Published on Sunday 25th July 2010

African Union head Jean Ping has blasted the international community for neglecting the crisis in Somalia and only seeking to intervene when their interest is threatened by piracy and international terrorism.

Jean Ping was speaking in Kampala on the sidelines of the meeting of African Union ministers. The summit of heads of state is expected to come out strongly in favor of a more robust intervention policy for Somalia.

Ping's harshest criticism was for the permanent members of the UN Security Council. But he did not spare Africa either, saying the recent Ugandan terrorist attacks blamed on Somali Islamists has resulted in certain countries increasing direct military or logistical support for the African Union military Mission to Somalia.

"We have been requesting UN Security Council to intervene in Somalia, but have gotten no result," said Ping, "So we have decided to help our brother country ourselves, despite a lack of means."

Somalia will be the key issue at this summit, Ping believes.

Guinea-Conakry has already announced that it will immediately contribute one ready- to-deploy battalion. East and Horn of African Countries under the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development have committed to deploy 2,000 troops including one battalion from neighbouring Djibouti. Algeria will provide transport logistics.

Al-Shebab in Somalia claimed responsibility for this month's Kampala attacks whose final death toll was 82. Ping said that the summit will not only discuss more promises of troops and material, but also change the mandate of the African Union Mission.

Somalis will be authorised to allow the troops to use force to enforce peace if necessary, as all of them now agree that there is no peace to keep in Somalia anyway.


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