Ethiopian troops in Somalia to be replaced

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With Ethiopian troops ready to withdraw from Anarchical Somalia, Nigeria, Burundi and Uganda have pledged to send a battalion of about 850 troops each, reports claim following the African Union Igad meeting, Sunday.

An Ethiopian force of more than 3,000 troops has been backing the interim government, but is about to withdraw and the African Union Security Council is in desperate need of reinforcement of military forces in Somalia.

The meeting of foreign ministers, in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, is to focus on finding a way to strengthen the peacekeeping force in the lawless country.

However, as the members of the African Union’s peace and Security Council held urgent talks on the Somalia crisis, Nigeria, Burundi and Uganda made pledges in the Igad meeting to lessen the worries of the council.

Torn by internal conflict, Somalia has been without an effective central government for more than 15 years. Islamist insurgents are on the upsurge and control most of the country.

A weak AU force and a few troops loyal to the interim Somali government are limited to parts of Mogadishu and the central town of Baidoa, where parliament is based.

Years of conflict in Somalia have left large parts of the country in the hands of warlords while its capital, Mogadishu, is contested by Ethiopian-backed government forces and armed insurgents.

The city has been abandoned by at least half of its residents.

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