The head of America’s African Command (Africom) Gen. William Ward, has announced today that the United States is planning to dramatically escalate its level of assistance to the failing African Union occupation of Somalia.
The African Union has deployed some 6,300 troops from Uganda and Burundi to the nation in an attempt to prop up the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the self-proclaimed government of Somalia. Attention for the mission has grown considerably in recent weeks, following the attacks in Uganda’s capital city by one of the militant groups fighting the AU troops.
Though the United States has occasionally deployed troops to Somalia, the bulk of its role in the endless international intervention in Somalia has come in the form of training and intelligence aid to the AU mission, and a massive number of weapons shipped to the self-proclaimed government.
US officials maintain the escalation of its role in Somalia has nothing to do with the Uganda attacks, but was already being discussed well before that. The new aid will apparently include more training and intelligence aid for the AU troops as well as additional weaponry for them.
The African Union’s invasion force has come under considerable criticism for its behavior in Somalia, with a large number of incidents of AU troops attacking residential neighborhoods and killing innocent civilians. The US role in this AU mission will likely be just one more reason for resentment of the US meddling in the region.