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U.S. to continue curbing Islamic extremists in Somalia

 

The United States will take strong measures to strike against Islamic terrorists' activities inside and outside Somalia, Jendayi Frazer, assistant secretary of state for African affairs said on Tuesday.

"Somalia's continued exploitation by terrorist elements threatens the stability of the entire Horn of Africa region," Frazer told a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee.

"We will therefore take strong measures to deny terrorists safe haven in Somalia, as well as the ability to plan and operate from Somalia," she said.

The United States will continue to work with East African countries to build their capacity to counter terrorism and criminality that originates in Somalia, she said.

The senior U.S. official made the remarks when the Bush administration is planning to establish a new regional command for Africa to oversee U.S. military activities on the continent.

Last month, the United States joined efforts by Somalia's government and Ethiopia to oust Islamic extremists who had held sway over most of southern Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu.

Frazer has said before that the U.S. administration would use its diplomatic and financial resources to support Somalia's government and prevent a slide back into chaos.

Source: Xinhua

Uganda: Opposition MPs Back Somalia Deployment

OPPOSITION MPs have backed the deployment of the UPDF in Somalia, provided the best interests of the country are taken care of.

The Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Prof. Ogenga Latigo, yesterday announced the position during a press conference at Parliament.

Flanked by over 20 MPs, Ogenga announced: "Following very intense deliberations and objective consideration, and bearing in mind our responsibility to our country, a position was reached as follows:

"That we recognise the rights of our Government to enjoin our country to other countries in the sub-region, in Africa under African Union and world-wide, to participate in peacekeeping and other activities as may be required of us, provided that the best interests of the country are taken care of."

Uganda is to deploy 1,500 officers and men and a battalion of tanks in Somalia. It will build capacity and train Somalis, enabling them to take charge of their own affairs.

The NRM caucus unanimously resolved to support the deployment on Monday. The motion is expected to be tabled in Parliament today.

Latigo, however, stated, "In the case of Somalia, we accept in principle Uganda fulfiling the commitment it had already made to send 1,500 peacekeeping troops to that country, provided that our various concerns were addressed by the Executive."

The Opposition had earlier asked the Executive to clarify on the welfare, terms of conditions, duration, operational costs and compensation in case of death, among other things.

Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) President Dr. Kizza Besigye opposed the deployment, but FDC's Latigo explained: "We accept the deep concerns expressed by various party members and colleagues who had reservations about the deployment, but in the spirit of collective responsibility, the above position would be respected by all our members."


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