First Djibouti troops in Somalia to join AU force

December 20, 2011 7:46 am

, MOGADISHU, Dec 20 – The first Djiboutian contingent of 200 soldiers landed in war-torn Mogadishu Tuesday to join the African Union force battling Al-Qaeda linked Shebab forces in Somalia, a government official said.

“Djibouti deployed its first contingent to Somalia today to help the country restore peace and stability,” Mohamed Abdirahman, a Somali security official told reporters.

“We are desperately in need of military support to eliminate the threat of Al-Shebab,” Abdirahman added. “The first contingent consists of 200 men and others will follow in the days to come.”

The troops, who marched out of the airplane in combat uniform and carrying rifles, were welcomed at Mogadishu airport by top Somali military officials and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) leaders.

Djibouti, which neighbours the war-torn country to the north, is the latest country to deploy troops to Somalia, as regional states strive to battle the extremist Shebab insurgents who control much of southern Somalia.

The Somali-speaking Djiboutians join 9,700 Burundian and Ugandan soldiers, who have been deployed since 2007 to protect the Somali government from the Shebab in the war-shattered capital.

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