Uganda starts Somalia troop withdrawal

Uganda starts Somalia troop withdrawal

The Ugandan military has confirmed the step.The troop withdrawal is part of a larger United Nations plan to reduce AMISOM soldiers by 1,000 by the end of the year. Richard Karemire told Xinhua that phased withdrawal is in compliance with the African Union- and United Nations-approved reduction of 1,000 uniformed personnel serving under African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) by the December 31 deadline.

Lt. Col. Deo Akiiki, Ugandan deputy army spokesman, told Xinhua in an interview that the troops who have been serving under African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) began trickling back home in small batches on Wednesday.

AMISOM now has 20,000 soldiers serving with the organisation and Uganda the biggest contributor has 6,000 soldiers in total serving with the mission.

Uganda, which was the first country to send troops to Somalia in 2007, is the biggest contributor with more than 6,000 soldiers in the war-torn country.

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There are plans to withdraw all AMISOM troops from Somalia by 2020, thereby turning full control of security in the Horn of Africa country to the Somali military.

AMISOM is comprised of troops drawn from Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti. A massive bomb attack blamed on the al-Qaeda-affiliated militants killed more than 500 people in the capital, Mogadishu, two months ago - the deadliest in its campaign against various UN-backed governments.

Under an agreement between the African Union and the U.N. Security Council the number of all African peacekeepers in Somalia will be reduced by 1,000 before the end of 2017, Akiiki said.

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