- Title: SOMALIA: Ugandan peacekeeper killed
- Date: 7th January 2009
- Summary: MOGADISHU, SOMALIA (FILE - MAY 3, 2007) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF AFRICAN UNION MISSION IN SOMALIA (AMISOM) PEACEKEEPERS AND SOMALI POLICE PATROLLING THE STREETS
- Embargoed: 22nd January 2009 12:00
- Location: Somalia
- Country: Somalia
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement
- Reuters ID: LVAD8N56GOD0F7IUM4X6QC5UF3I5
- Story Text: A roadside bomb killed a Ugandan soldier and another was wounded in Somalia's capital on Tuesday (January 6) when a convoy of peacekeepers was hit by an improvised explosive device on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Major Barigye Ba-Hoku, spokesman for the small AMISOM force, told reporters.
Masked gunmen also murdered a man working for the United Nation's World Food Programme in the southwest of the Horn of Africa nation.
"This morning at 07:45 local time, an AMISON convoy was hit by an improvised explosive device, I.E.D., adjacent to the offices of immigration kilometre 4 on the airport road. The convoy was on routine duties of mine sweeping the street. As a result of the explosion one soldier was killed and another was injured. Both are from the Ugandan contingent. AMISOM condemns these cowardly and barbaric and unwarrented attacks on its troops who are genuinely carrying out an international peace keeping mission," said Ba-Hoku.
The killings come as Ethiopian troops who have been propping up an interim government and fighting Islamist insurgents for the past two years are pulling out of Somalia, saying their mission has been accomplished.
The withdrawal has fuelled fears of a power vacuum in a country where violence and chaos onshore have allowed piracy to flourish in the busy shipping lanes off Somalia's coast.
International interest in solving the crisis in Somalia has risen since a surge in piracy last year that earned the bandits millions of dollars in ransoms and shocked shipping firms.
Ba-Hoku denied reports that the AU troops would withdraw once the Ethiopian troops leave. He said that according to a ceasefire agreement signed in October last year, AMISOM would work together with forces from the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the opposition Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS).
"Current developments trends in Somalia: A lot of anxiety has been generated since Ethiopia announced its decision to withdraw its forces from Somalia, some sections of both local and international media have asserted that AMISOM troops will immediately withdraw alongside the Ethiopian troops.
This is not correct because the Djibouti agreement explicitly stipulated that forces of TFG, The Alliance for the Liberation of Somalia -ARS and AMISOM would jointly take over the areas previously controlled by the Ethiopian troops. Nothing has changed on this decision," added Ba-Hoku.
The African Union wants to deploy some 2,500 troops from Uganda, Burundi and Nigeria to replace the Ethiopian soldiers but financial and logistical hitches have delayed the plan.
Uganda and Burundi have called for a stronger mandate to let its 3,200 peacekeepers protecting strategic sites in Somalia go on the offensive against any insurgents preparing attacks.
More than 16,000 civilians have been killed since the insurgency started two years ago, a million Somalis have been displaced and a third of the population relies on food aid.
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