Uganda, Burundi to leave Somalia

By Scott A Morgan

If reports from East Africa are true then it appears that Ethiopia will not be the only nation pulling its forces out of Somalia. As a matter of fact the AU Mission in Somalia may be on the verge of collapse.

What could be the influence that would have both Uganda and Burundi consider pulling their troops out of the country? The two countries currently have just over 2800 peacekeepers in the country. The mission which has been in Somalia for a year has to this date failed to halt the violence that permeates the country.

The Transitional National Government which attempted to unify Somalia under a centralized administration is limited to its power base and seat of parliament at Baidoa and the war ravaged capital of Mogadishu. The rest of the country is either under the control of militias or have some form of autonomy that has not been challenged. The increase in the acts of piracy this year cannot be overlooked either.

The decision by Uganda to remove its peacekeepers should not be a huge surprise to many. A deadline for the LRA to once again sign a peace accord with the government has expired. Since there was an ultimatum in place who knows what actions will be taken? Also there has been a ratcheting of tensions along the border with the DRC. Tutsi rebels have seized several border towns and outposts in recent days. So it is possible that Kampala needs the boots back home.

The situation in Burundi however appears more stable. There have been some crackdowns against the political opposition this year and there are chances that Burundi could be drawn into the various conflicts that appear to on the verge of erupting in the Great Lakes of Africa.

At this time the African Union is asking for the UN to send a Stabilization Force to the Somalia. Twice before, the UN has attempted to restore order in Somalia and both attempts have failed. So will the third time be the charm for the UN? Could it restore a strong central government in Somalia or should this country be broken up? Time will tell which will be the proper policy.
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The author publishes Confused Eagle on the Internet and comments on US policy towards Africa. Confused Eagle is available at morganrights.tripod.com
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