Friday, 18 September 2009

UN, AU react to al-Shabaab attack in Somalia Fri, 18 Sep 2009 22:53:48 GMT

The UN condemns a twin suicide bombing in war-torn Somalia while the African Union's (AU) special representative to Somalia calls for more international support in the country.

President of the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly Ali Treki, a Libyan, who took over the post on Tuesday, said a brutal attack on Thursday, that killed 21 people, including 17 Burundian and Ugandan forces, was 'unacceptable' from terrorist groups operating in Somalia.

He said the UN "will recognize the (Somalia's) legitimate government and will continue supporting them," adding that he hoped the attack would not make Africans weak in front of aggression.

Meanwhile, AU's special representative to Somalia, Nicolas Bwakira addressing a press conference in Nairobi on Friday, September 18, called for more support by the international community to the pan-African bloc's embattled peace force in war-ravaged Somalia.

Only Burundi and Uganda currently contribute to the AU peacekeeping force in Somalia.

The UN official also said that al-Shabaab, who claimed the attacks, used two cars with UN logos to hit the African Union's main base in Mogadishu on Thursday (September 17). He said they showed their ability by striking at the heart of the peacekeeping mission.

The insurgents announced that they launched the attack to avenge the killing on Monday (September 14) of one of the continent's most wanted al-Qaeda suspects in a helicopter raid by US commandos.

Both nations, Burundi and Uganda, say they want AMISOM's (African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia) mandate toughened. The force was supposed to be 8,000-strong, but only has about 5,000 troops only from Uganda and Burundi.

After Thursday's attack, Nigeria and Djibouti have agreed in principle to send soldiers to reinforce AMISOM.

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