Tuesday, January 30, 2007

SA will not send troops to Somalia

SA will not send troops to Somalia - SouthAfrica.info
By David Masango, 30 January 2007

South Africa will not be sending troops to Somalia, but is continuing to assess what type of assistance it can offer the conflict-ridden north African country.

Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad told reporters in Pretoria on Monday that South Africa would not be sending any soldiers to Somalia as its peacekeeping force was stretched in other missions on the continent.

These include deployments in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Burundi and Sudan's Darfur region.

Pahad said Nigeria was preparing up to 1 000 troops in case they were asked to participate in an African peace-keeping force.

In addition, Mozambique was reconsidering whether it would contribute troops to peacekeeping forces deployed in Sudan and Somalia.

"Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota is still consulting with relevant departments to determine what other assistance we can provide to the African Union peace-keeping force in Somalia," Pahad said. "He will then make a recommendation to President Thabo Mbeki."

Somalia, which has not had a stable government in over 15 years, came into existence as a state in 1960 but collapsed after the overthrow of Siad Barre in 1991.

It has since seen intermittent periods of fighting among those in power in the now fragmented area.

After 1991, it became divided into various sections, with north-west Somalia proclaiming itself the independent Republic of Somaliland, the Puntland region declaring its autonomy, and parts in the south falling under different clan leaders.

It currently has an interim government, founded in 2004 and recognised by the African Union (AU) and the rest of the world, following negotiations in Kenya among the warring Somali factions.

Source: BuaNews


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