. Earth Science News .

First Djibouti troops join AU Somalia force
by Staff Writers
Mogadishu (AFP) Dec 20, 2011

The first Djiboutian contingent of 100 soldiers landed in Mogadishu Tuesday to join the African Union force battling Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab forces in Somalia, the mission said.

"An advance party consisting of 100 troops ... arrived at Mogadishu airport this afternoon. A further 800 troops will follow in the course of the next week or so to bring the Djiboutian contingent up to strength," a statement said.

The Somali-speaking Djiboutians join 9,800 Burundian and Ugandan soldiers, who have been deployed since 2007 to protect the Western-backed government from the Shebab in the war-shattered capital.

The AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) deputy commander Brigadier-General Audace Nduwumunsi said the troops will be based in Al Jazeera IV area in southern Mogadishu.

"Todays initial deployment of the Djiboutian contingent is a great step forward for the AMISOM Force in Mogadishu and for building stability in the country," Nduwumusi said the statement.

Earlier Somali security officer Mohamed Abdirahman, who initially said 200 Djibouti troops arrived in Mogadishu, welcomed the deployment.

"We are desperately in need of military support to eliminate the threat of Al-Shebab," Abdirahman said.

The troops, who marched out of the airplane in combat uniform and carrying rifles, were welcomed at Mogadishu airport by top Somali military officials and AMISOM leaders.

Djibouti, which neighbours the war-torn country to the north, is the latest country to deploy troops to Somalia, as regional states strive to battle the extremist Shebab insurgents who control much of southern Somalia.

The hardline insurgents control large parts of southern Somalia but are facing increasing pressure from regional armies and government forces, with the rebels leaving fixed positions in Mogadishu in favour of guerrilla tactics.

With the arrival of Djiboutian forces, almost every Horn of Africa nation has been drawn into Somalia's two-decade-long conflict.

In October, Kenya sent tanks and troops into southern Somalia to fight the Shebab militia which Nairobi blames for a series of cross-border attacks and kidnappings of foreigners.

Ethiopian soldiers were reported to have crossed into western Somalia last month, although Addis Ababa has denied its forces crossed the border.

Eritrea has been accused of backing the hardline Shebab, although it too denies any involvement in the conflict.

Djibouti's expected full contribution men will bring the AU force up to 10,700. AMISOM has a UN mandate for up to 12,000 troops, but the AU has asked for it to be beefed up to 20,000.

Sierra Leone is also expected to send a force of 850 soldiers next year, while Kenya has offered for its troops already fighting in Somalia to join AMISOM.

AU force commanders have repeatedly called for the strengthening of the mission to oust the hardline militia.

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta visited Djibouti, home to the only US army base in Africa last week, when he said that efforts to combat terrorism had "moved to key nodes, like Yemen and Somalia."

The Shebab however have already condemned the Djiboutian deployment, warning that the troops will not succeed in their mission to defeat them.

"850 Djiboutian soldiers are ineffective where thousands of Kenyan, Ethiopian, Ugandan, Burundian and US mercenaries have miserably failed," an official Shebab Twitter post read last week.

"Its very dishonourable of Djibouti to side with the enemy and take part in the invasion of our country," another Twitter message read, from Shehab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage.

The Horn of Africa country has been ravaged by a nearly uninterrupted civil war since the 1991 ouster of president Siad Barre sparked vicious bloodletting by rival militias fighting for power.

In the latest move to return stability, Somali leaders in September signed a UN-backed agreement to improve security, adopt a new constitution and hold polls by August 2012 when the life of the current transitional government expires.

Related Links
Africa News - Resources, Health, Food

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

Clashes in Senegal's Casamance region kill 13
Ziguinchor, Senegal (AFP) Dec 20, 2011 - Fighting between separatist rebels and Senegal troops left 13 people dead on Tuesday, in the latest violence to hit the Casamance enclave, the military said.

The army said that rebels of the Casamance Movement of Democratic Forces (MFDC) staged a dawn attack on a government outpost in Diegoune district, 45 kilometres (30 miles) northwest of Ziguinchor, the region's capital.

Five rebels and one soldier were killed in the clash, which also left one soldier missing and one soldier and six rebels wounded, the army public relations unit said in a statement sent to AFP.

"There was a fierce firefight for at least 30 minutes. It was terrifying," a military official told AFP.

Another seven government troops were killed and four wounded when a military unit deployed as reinforcements had a serious traffic accident, the statement said.

An intelligence officer speaking on condition of anonymity said the convoy was in fact attacked by suspected rebels using rocket launchers, and that "there were nine killed and seven wounded among army ranks".

The army also said that two more soldiers had been "injured, one by an explosive device" in operations in Casamance.

A medical source at the region's main hospital said seven soldiers had been admitted with injuries.

The army statement said that despite the attacks, the military remained committed to ensuring the safety of people and property throughout Casamance.

The divided MFDC has been fighting for independence since 1982 in a conflict that has claimed thousands of lives, with no immediate end in sight despite several peace accords.

Dakar said Monday it was conducting search operations for five soldiers who have been missing since another rebel attack on an army outpost last week.


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

US special forces in Central Africa for LRA rebel hunt
Bangui (AFP) Dec 19, 2011
US special forces have set up a base in the Central African Republic as part of their regional hunt for fighters from the Ugandan-born Lord's Resistance Army group, military sources said Monday. "The deployment of this contingent, the size of which is unknown, was carried out very discreetly with Ugandan military aircraft," a Central African military official said on condition of anonymity. ... read more

Thai army targets New Year protests

Fukushima reactors may take 40 years to dismantle

Small fire at Japan nuclear lab; no radiation leak

Geography, squatting blamed for Philippine floods

Canada hunts for rare earth metals as China cuts back

Split decision in Microsoft smartphone patent case

Need a new material? New tool can help

Hollywood still struggling to focus 3D technology

Nitrogen from humans pollutes remote lakes for more than a century

IDFC: India's water supply at risk

Data-driven tools cast geographical patterns of rainfall extremes in new light

What are the prospects for sustaining high-quality groundwater

Will Antarctic worms warm to changing climate

Central Asian glaciers resist warming

Scientists try to gauge permafrost gases

South Pole conquest hailed 100 years on with eye on climate

More Canadian farmers going high-tech

Genome tree of life is largest yet for seed plants

New insight into why locusts swarm

A major step forward towards drought tolerance in crops

Disease fears as Philippines flood toll tops 1,000

Philippines buries its dead as flood toll tops 1,000

Aquino vows aid as Philippine flood toll tops 1,000

Philippine storm toll passes 900 as cities prepare burials

Fighter jets kill 10 in south Somali air raid: witnesses

First Djibouti troops join AU Somalia force

US special forces in Central Africa for LRA rebel hunt

Casamance rebel faction condemns attack on Senegal troops

Malaysian 'lords of the jungle' cling to ancient ways

Mind reading machines on their way: IBM

I wanna talk like you

Starving orangutans might help to better understand obesity and eating disorders in humans


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement