Mogadishu, 14 December 2009-(Somalilandpress)-The African Union Peacekeeping Mission in
Somalia (AMISOM) has said the government of Mali is considering
sending military experts to the headquarters of AMISOM in Mogadishu.

They say the experts will operate in the AMISOM military bases in Mogadishu.

The deputy AU special envoy to Somalia Hon. Wafula Wamunyinyi has said
the AMISOM operation needed technical and military support.

The government of Mali has said that it will consider the move of
sending experts to Somalia. Burundi and Uganda, who have their troops
in Somalia, have said that they will look for funds for their soldiers
from the donors.

Several African countries have earlier pledged to deploy troops to
Somalia to strengthen the presence of Burundian and Ugandan forces.
Among these countries are Nigeria, Ghana, Djibouti and Sierra Leone.

Elsewhere, a behind-the-scenes battle for control of money for
peacekeeping activities in Somalia is brewing between Mali and
Nigeria, on the one hand, and Uganda and Burundi on the other, as it
emerges that donors will soon be releasing an enhanced financial
package to support AU troops in the war-torn country.

Although donors to AMISOM – the African Union peacekeeping mission in
Somalia – had initially refused to disburse funds meant for the
peacekeepers’ allowances for lack of accountability, this is likely to
change in the near future as new commitments for support come on

The EastAfrican has learnt that the European Union and the United
Nations Security Council have signed packages that will see increased
financing and logistics flowing to the peacekeeping mission in

The EU is tight-lipped about the level of its support – “I don’t want
to make any declarations about that,” said EU ambassador to Uganda
Vincent de Visscher.

To the annoyance of countries such as Uganda and Burundi, which were
the first to put troops on the ground in Mogadishu, the promise of
money has now caught the attention of countries that failed to deliver
on their promises for troops. Now they want to deploy small teams to
manage the mission’s logistics.

“Since the UN has taken over the logistical support of the mission,
other countries are saying they want to participate in administering
the logistics but without being on the ground,” Uganda army spokesman
Lt-Col Felix Kulaigye said.

The African Union’s deputy special representative for Somalia, Wafula
Wamunyinyi, confirmed that AMISOM’s Strategic Planning and Management
Unit had recommended that the mission needed support to the force
headquarters in Mogadishu and had zeroed in on Mali for the task.
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“I know Mali is considering sending in technical military officers to
the force headquarters, about 15 of them. The officers will be
responsible for logistics, human resource, personnel and general
operations within the mission. Officers with experience in the running
of a mission and providing support to the force commander,” Mr
Wamunyinyi said.

But the force commander does not share this view.

“If they are technical, why don’t they bring their expertise on the
ground? That is what we want. Not at the headquarters. It is more
practical to deliver that service on the ground,” AMISOM commander
Maj-Gen Nathan Mugisha said.

He added: “That is the problem, and that is why we are telling them to
bring in their servicemen before they can think of deployment at the
force headquarters – because at the headquarters, you are providing
service to the men. So where are the men to be served? You need to
first of all have the men.”

In 2006, when the United Nation Security Council approved a resolution
authorising an African peacekeeping force in Somalia, only Uganda and
Burundi responded. At the time, it was estimated that 8,000 troops
would suffice. The two countries have raised just over 5,000, leaving
a deficit of 3,000 troops.

Today, according to peacekeepers on the ground, Somalia needs 10,000
to 15,000 troops. But AU countries are still reluctant to send in
their fighters, given the risky situation prevailing in Somalia.

While some diplomatic sources within the EU zone feigned ignorance
about the support, other sources said the support coming from the EU’s
security department is a sensitive security matter about which
publicity could make EU citizens targets for terror attacks.

It is understood that the EU has committed itself to providing funds
for the training of Somalia’s security forces and extension of
humanitarian assistance to civilians.

Some 2,000 recruits to the Somali national army will be trained in
Uganda. This will be part of efforts to build the capacity of the
federal government to counter Al-Shabab insurgents that have exploited
the administrative vacuum to established training bases in the desert
and in parts under their control.

The EU money will be channelled through AMISOM’s logistical base in
Nairobi. The UN is expected to provide logistical support, such as
fuel, vehicle maintenance, food and drugs to the peacekeeping force.

By Abdinasir Mohamed with Somalilandpress and Halima Abdallah with
Eastafrican standard.