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Vol 53 No 7

Published 30th March 2012


Somalia

Al Shabaab’s waiting game

Regardless of the recent defeats of Al Haraka al Shabaab al Mujahideen, senior African Union Mission in Somalia commanders privately admit that the next phase of military operations is fraught with potential difficulties. Since forcing Al Shabaab out of Mogadishu in August, five years after Amisom first came to Somalia, the Ugandan People’s Defence Force’s 5,500-strong contingent is slowly moving out to assume control of new territory beyond the capital. Any bolder moves to occupy territory further afield, however, depend on leaving currently-occupied zones to Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldiers and police, whose competence and reliability are in some doubt. Amisom commanders also worry because communications are scant and coordination absent with the Ethiopian forces to the south. Now that the Kenyan forces have been re-hatted as Amisom, links with them should improve.

Lack of trust in the TFG forces who have to take over the Ugandan and Burundian positions when Amisom moves out of Mogadishu is making Amisom tread cautiously. The TFG forces are all young and some are teenagers.

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