First AU troops arrive in Somalia

MOGADISHU - An advance group of Ugandan peacekeepers arrived in Somalia yesterday, the first contingent of an African Union (AU) force meant to restore stability to the anarchic nation and its violent capital.

MOGADISHU - An advance group of Ugandan peacekeepers arrived in Somalia yesterday, the first contingent of an African Union (AU) force meant to restore stability to the anarchic nation and its violent capital.

About 30 troops had arrived in the town of Baidoa, according to a BBC report, but a Ugandan official denied this.

The AU wants 8000 soldiers for the Somalia mission, but so far countries' contributions have only met half the number.

Uganda promised 1500 soldiers, and Nigeria, Ghana, Burundi and Malawi would be sending the rest of the troops.

The Somali capital Mogadishu quickly descended into lawlessness and insecurity after the December ouster of Islamists who controlled the capital had brought some stability to it - for a few months.

The transitional government, has struggled to assert its authority over Mogadishu.

Ragtag but violent clan militias and Islamist remnants are waging a bitter civil war in the streets of the capital.

Somalia has been without effective central rule since dictator Mohammed Siad Barre was toppled in 1991, plunging the state into chaos and warlord rule. - Sapa-DPA

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