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Monday, August 8, 2011

What the West should do in the Horn of Africa

The West can step up to the plate and bring forces to help secure the border area of Kenya which would allow the AU troops more lee way in their fight against Al Shabaab.
Western troops do not have to be in Somalia but they can help support the current UN mission in its fight against Al-Shabaab.  
African Union armed vehicles fire at Al-Qaeda-inspired Shebab insurgents in northern Mogadishu
African Union armed vehicles fire at Al-Qaeda-inspired Shabaab insurgents in northern Mogadishu, 11 June 2011
Bringing equipment (there is huge amounts of used military equipment currently in storage in Iraq and Afghanistan) and training the AU troops in their fight.  As we train Afghan troops to fight the Taliban we can easily do this with AU troops.

The problems in Somalia are many and varied.... but the result today on the ground is thousands of children dying do to famine and drought.   With virtually no infrastructure Somalia is completely unable to help itself.

Al Shabaab is also a huge part of the problem as witnessed by every day Somali's.

There are about 9 600 African Union troops fighting Al Shabaab and attempting to create stability in Somalia.
The fighting has been fierce at times with Uganda forces suffering over 81 fallen and Burundi forces suffering over 78 fallen.

African Union and Somali troops are pictured in action in Yaaqshid district of Mogadishu, Somalia, on Thursday, July 28, 2011. (AP Photo)
African Union and Somali troops are pictured in action in Yaaqshid district of Mogadishu, Somalia, on Thursday, July 28, 2011. (AP Photo)
Residents fled from pockets of violence around Mogadishu today, two days after a surprise rebel pullback that had led the government to claim it fully controlled the famine-stricken city.
Fighting erupted in several areas in the south and north of the city, as African Union-backed government troops set up bases in former al Shabaab strongholds.
“We are very worried, and many people have already fled to stay away from the firing,” said Abdulahi Duale, a resident from the famine-stricken capital’s northern Suqaholaha district.
“We could hear shooting close to our neighbourhood,” he added.
The al-Qaeda-affiliated rebels who had controlled around half of Mogadishu abandoned their positions in a surprise withdrawal on Saturday but some units remained active on the outskirts of the capital.
Heavy fighting
Another resident, Huda Ali said: “We could hear the heavy fighting on Sunday night. We are planning to flee because there are stray bullets reaching close to us now.”

Government officials celebrated the hardline rebel pullout, but the al Shabaab say it is merely “a change of military tactics.”
“It was the second day of our changed tactics, and the mujahedeen fighters carried out at least five attacks,” al Shabaab spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab told reporters.
A fighter from al-Shabaab runs for cover from a burnt-out African Union tank during fighting in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, 2 July 2010. Photograph: Feisal Omar/Reuters
“We have inflicted heavy losses on the enemy... where the Christian invading forces tried to expand,” he added.

Government forces dismissed the rebel claims, reporting only sporadic shooting as soldiers moved cautiously into former al Shabaab-held areas.
“Our forces are making a gradual advancement into areas of the city where the Islamist militants have left,” said Abdikarin Dhegobadan, a senior government officer.
Yusuf Mohamed Siad Indhoade, the leader of a pro-government militia, said the al Shabaab were forced to withdraw from Mogadishu because of internal wrangles.
The city was quieter on Monday morning after fighting during the night, but residents continued to move out, fearing further conflict.
About 100,000 people from drought-stricken areas have come to Mogadishu over the past two months in search of food, water and shelter, and aid efforts to reach them continue. (AFP)

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