Un premier détachement de soldats ougandais signalé
BAIDOA, Somalie (Reuters) – Un détachement de soldats de la paix ougandais
est arrivé jeudi matin à Baidoa, où siège toujours
le gouvernement somalien, annonce un responsable des douanes somaliennes.
"Trente-cinq soldats sont descendus d’un avion qui est ensuite reparti",
a dit Ali Mohamed Adan, un responsable des douanes.
Le gouvernement ougandais qui, pour des raisons de sécurité,
est jusqu’alors resté évasif quant au calendrier du déploiement
de sa mission de maintien de la paix en Somalie, a démenti l’information.
"Il n’y a pas
de militaires (ougandais) à Baidoa, ni en Somalie", a déclaré
le capitaine ougandais Paddy Ankunda. "Nous partons la semaine prochaine."
peacekeepers are in Somalia
A small advance team of African Union troops has arrived in Somalia, say officials
in the country.
Police sources and airport staff in the southern town of Baidoa told a BBC
correspondent that 30 soldiers had arrived in the town on a plane.
The group are believed to be Ugandans, although this is denied. Their forces
will be the first to deploy in Somalia.
Some 8,000 AU peacekeepers are to be sent to Somalia to replace Ethiopian
troops, who ousted Islamists last year.
But so far only half that number have been contributed by AU member states.
Nigeria has said its 850 soldiers will be deployed from the middle of April
in three phases. Other countries that have pledged to send troops are Ghana
Uganda is to send some 1,500 troops, and President Yoweri Museveni is expected
to see off the first contingent of troops at a ceremony to be held in the
eastern town of Jinja.
Officials in the
Ugandan military deny sending an advance party and maintain that their first
troops will not embark for Somalia until the beginning of next week
Somalia has seen a new spike in violence in recent weeks, two months after
Ethiopian troops backed a campaign against the Union of Islamic Courts by
the country’s transitional government and took control.
More than 10,000 civilians have fled Mogadishu in the past two weeks, the
United Nations estimates.
Officials have blamed the rise in violence on the high number of weapons available
in the capital, Mogadishu.
An insurgency launched by ousted Islamists also appears to be making its mark,
with daily attacks – often targeting Ethiopian forces.
There have been several protests against the deployment of AU forces in Somalia,
even though many Somalis are keen to see the departure of Ethiopian forces
as quickly as possible.
Islamist insurgents have warned that foreign peacekeepers are not welcome
In the latest violence, two people were killed during a fire exchange between
security guards belonging to the head of the Mogadishu port and unknown gunmen
who ambushed his convoy.
"Militiamen ambushed Abdi Jiidow convoy as he was retuning home in southern
Mogadishu killing one of his guards. They responded and in the process of
the shoot-out killed one of the attackers" witnesses told AFP news agency.
And in a separate incident, masked men attacked a car belonging Ibrahim Abdi
Adan, the police chief in southern Mogadishu. A civilian was injured and a
suspect has been arrested following the shoot out.
Security guards say the suspect and his colleagues were trying plant explosives
by the roadside.