- Uganda has sent another battalion of soldiers in volatile Somalia to beef up the African Union peacekeeping mission in the Horn of Africa, bringing the total number of its troops to over 2,000, military officials have said.
The new deployment in the Horn of African country comes just two weeks after the Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed visited Uganda and Burundi seeking for more help to fight insurgency in the country.
Uganda's minister of defense Crispus Kiyonga, told parliament early this year that Burundi would also to send another battalion to Somalia to beef up its other battalion already deployed in the country.
"With the new president, parliament, reinforcement of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) we hope to begin seeing faster reconciliation in Somalia," he said.
The AU which began the deployed of troops in Somali following the full withdrawal of Ethiopian troops in January, that had backed the government forces since 2006 in the troubled Horn of Africa state, have since been battling insurgency in Somalia.
General Aronda Nyakairima, of the Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDF) told reporters on Tuesday that the battalion left for Somalia on Sunday to beef up the already 1,700 Ugandan peacekeepers deployed in the capital Mogadishu.
Analysts said the news of the deployment would ignite tension between government and the hardline al Shabaab Islamist insurgents who have intensified offensive against government since Ethiopia vacated Somali land.
Last week, the Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden urged Somalis to topple the president saying he was no longer loyal to Islamic groups after agreeing to form a unity government and being selected as an interim leader.
Al Shabaab insurgents, who have recently took control of some towns in southern and central Somalia, have been fighting to impose their strict version of Islamic law throughout the Horn of Africa nation.
Meanwhile, Somali traditional elders have opposed the deployment of the extra African troops joining the AMISOM in the Somali capital Mogadishu saying foreigners would not solve the Somali crisis.
A political spokesman of Hawiye traditional elders, Abdullahi Hassan Abukar, said that the Somali society was not satisfied with the approval of the foreign minister to the deployment of foreign troops.
The AMISON currently has over 3,500 peacekeepers now deployed in Somalia are far below the 8,000 African Union peacekeepers required to help pacify the lawless country.
Somalia has not had an effective national government since 1991, since when various militias have been battling for control.
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