Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed has expressed disappointment at the United Nations refusal to send troops to the war-torn country.
Abdullahi Yusuf told reporters on Sunday that he was very sorry to hear the United Nations Security Council’s decision to suspend sending a peacekeeping force to Somalia, stressing that it will only encourage the confidence of the fighters.
Last week the UN Security Council dodged a request from Somalia’s interim government and an opposition faction, with which it signed a peace agreement last month, to send peacekeepers within 120 days to replace a small, ill-funded African Union (AU) force.
But the council parried the appeal saying that it “takes note of” the request, and was willing to consider “at an appropriate time” a UN operation “subject to progress in the political process and improvement in the security situation on the ground.”
More than 8,000 civilians have been killed and 1 million uprooted in fighting between President Abdullahi Yusuf’s government and allied Ethiopian forces with anti-government fighters, since early last year.
The existing UN-backed AU force in Somalia is meant to consist of 8,000 troops but has only 2,600 soldiers from Uganda and Burundi on the ground. Nigeria has promised another 850.
The Security Council has repeatedly fended off AU requests to send UN peace-keepers to the violent-torn nation, leery of putting troops into a country where 18 US soldiers and hundreds of Somalia militiamen died in a battle in 1993.