China donates $1.2m to AU mission in Somalia

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The Chinese government has donated $1.2m towards peace efforts in Somalia. The donation will be going to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). 

Smail Chergui, the African Union (AU) Commissioner for Peace and Security, used his official twitter handle to make the announcement on Monday. Ambassador Kuang Weilin signed for the Chinese government while Chergui signed for the AU.

AMISOM together with the Somalia National Army (SNA) are largely in charge of security in the country.

The AU forces have come under repeated attacks from militant group, al-Shabaab, who are fighting to establish an Islamic government. The Al Qaeda-linked group have claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks on civilians and on government and international security forces.

They still hold some regions in the country even though their capabilities are thought to be waning. Their recent fortunes have been allied to the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops in parts of the country. The withdrawals are said to be due to unrest back home but the Ethiopian government denies that.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in a report officially labeled al-Shabaab militants as a transnational security threat in the East Africa region.

According to the report titled Al-Shabaab as a Transnational Security Treat. the group could be likened to the Islamic State group, with capabilities to recruit young people beyond its power base.

The report stated that al-Shabab (real name Harakaat Al-Shabaab Al-Mujaahidiiin) had long been perceived as a Somali-organization even though it represented a threat to the wider East African region.

Recently, the Burundian government served notice that it could withdraw its troops from the AMISOM citing the non payment of troops as the main reason for the threat of withdrawal.

The Defence Minister, Emmanuel Ntahomvukiye, disclosed that soldiers monthly allowance which is supposed to be paid by the European Union (EU) were in arrears. According to him, the $800 (£640) allowance was in arrears for 10 months.

The decision of the EU to cut off its funding for the troops is tied to the ongoing political crisis in the country.

Burundi is the second largest contributor to AMISOM. Their over 5400 troops come behind Uganda who have over 6000 troops.

Somalia is currently conducting its elections and the issue of security is high on the agenda. AMISOM troop contributing countries include Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. Police contributing countries also include Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Uganda.

The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU) Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, recently lauded the decision by the Assembly of Heads of State to operationalize the AU Peace Fund initiative in order to finance peace and security operations on the continent.

Each of the five regional blocs under the AU are expected to contribute about 65 million US dollars each year through an import levy of about 0.2% on eligible imports as a means of addressing the funding gap the AU has been facing. The levy is expected to increase to 80 million US dollars per bloc by the year 2020.

According to the Council on Foreign relations, as of May 2015, there were nine UN peacekeeping missions in Africa supported by more than eighty thousand troops and fifteen thousand civilians.

80 percent of all UN peacekeepers are deployed in Africa. The largest missions are in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Darfur (jointly administered with the AU), South Sudan, and Mali.

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