Saturday, 29 January 2011

African Union wants attack mandate for Somalia force

African leaders to discuss change of AMISOM mandate
* AU says has requested five attack helicopters for AMISOM

ADDIS ABABA, Jan 29 (Reuters) - The African Union's (AU) peacekeeping force in Somalia is ready to attack militants bent on toppling the government should it receive authorisation from the United Nations, the head of the body said on Saturday.
A senior AU source said African leaders would discuss on Sunday whether to lodge a formal request with the United Nations to change the mandate to an attacking one from peacekeeping.
Tens of thousands of civilians have been killed over the past four years in fighting that has seen the rebels seize control of about half the capital Mogadishu and swathes of southern and central Somalia.
Western spy agencies say the country has becom a haven for foreign jihadists and Somalia's al Shabaab rebels claimed responsibility for bombs in Uganda that killed scores in July.
"We are ready to attack if we have permission from the United Nations' Security Council," Jean Ping, chairman of the African Union Commission, told a news conference in Ethiopia Read More

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