Friday, August 20, 2010
South Africa unlikely to deploy troops in support of AMISOM in Somalia
South Africa is unlikely to deploy soldiers in support of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
The South African Cabinet was to make a decision on 18 August as to whether troops would join the peacekeeping mission, which is expected to last more than three years, but an indefinite national strike by public sector workers - with the army on standby to provide essential services - has delayed the decision,
Peacekeeping commitments in Burundi, which ended on 30 June 2009, meant South Africa had previously declined to participate in AMISOM, but on 23 July 2010 AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping requested South Africa, Angola, Nigeria, Ghana and Guinea to send troops to Somalia to bolster AMISOM.
Ping's plea for support came shortly after suicide bombers from Al-Shaabab, a non-state Somali group, killed 76 people in attacks in Kampala, capital of Uganda, after assaults on Ugandan and Burundian troops by Al-Shaabab militia in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu.
The peacekeepers in Somalia were operating under a "limited mandate" and had failed to bring stability to Mogadishu, which had resulted in daily artillery duels and firefights
However according to analyst, they continue to warn that simply increasing AMISOM's size is unlikely to succeed unless accompanied by a political solution.