Hargeisa, 25 June 2009  – The African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) will launch a radio station aimed at promoting peace in the conflict-torn Horn of Africa nation, a spokesman told AFP Wednesday.

“The planning for this project began last year. AMISOM, the United Nations and the Somali government are all be involved,” Ugandan army spokesman Major Felix Kulayigye.

Uganda is the largest troop contributor to the 4,300-strong AMISOM force, which also includes a large Burundian contingent.

Kulayigye, who did not provide an exact date for the launch, said that while all decisions on programming had not yet been finalised, all broadcasts will be “educational, and will be catered to enhancing peace.”

He said the station would in broadcast English, Somali and Kiswahili.

AMISOM was deployed in early 2007 but has managed little more than keeping a weak transitional federal government on life support.

It is currently protecting internationally-backed President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in his Mogadishu palace as an alliance of insurgent groups presses on with a six-week-old military offensive to topple him.

Somalia has had no effective central authority since the 1991 ouster of president Mohamed Siad Barre touched off a bloody power struggle that has defied around a dozen different peace initiatives.

Source: AFP