NAIROBI, Kenya — The first of 900 soldiers from Djibouti have arrived in Mogadishu to bolster the 9,700-strong African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Until now the 9,700-strong AMISOM force has been entirely made up of Ugandan and Burundian troops but that is changing with Djibouti soldiers on the ground and plans underway to incorporate Kenyan troops, too. The African Union has a mandate from the Security Council that permits it 12,000 peacekeepers but says it needs 20,000.
That request has in the past been rejected by the UN but while in Mogadishu last week GlobalPost found government officials optimistic that the request for more troops would be granted, following a visit to the city by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
AMISOM's job is to defend the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) against Al Shabaab and it has made some gains, pushing the Islamist extremist insurgents out of Mogadishu in August. Meanwhile incursions by Kenya in the south and Ethiopian in the west have put the Shabaab under increasing pressure.