Faced with the ever-growing prospect that the self-proclaimed Somali government and 8,000 African Union troops won’t be able to hold the handful of city blocks along the coast in Mogadishu which has, for the past couple of years, amounted to their entire domain, the United Nations is seeking a major escalation.
Insisting that the humanitarian situation is worsening, the UN Security Council urged the African Union to add another 4,000 troops, a 50% increase, to their occupation force. Of course the humanitarian situation has grown dramatically worse every time international forces have added troops, and the African Union itself is responsible for more than a few civilian killings, deliberately targeting the food markets in Mogadishu.
The bulk of the current AU force comes from Uganda, with a smaller contingent from Burundi. It is likely that Uganda will commit many of the additional troops, as they have regularly offered to do so if someone else steps up to pay them.
It remains to be seen what these additional troops can do, as it seems the escalation is quickly putting enough troops on the ground that they could stand shoulder-to-shoulder and span the entire trivial portion of territory occupied on behalf of the “government,” but every major attempt to annex new portions of the city has ended in a disastrous, and bloody, failure.
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