Nigerian officers in Somalia ahead of troop deployment
MOGADISHU— Ten Nigerian army officers arrived here Thursday to
assess conditions ahead of a troop deployment to bolster an
undermanned African Union peacekeeping force, an official said.
The officers held talks with officials from the embattled Somali
government and African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) in the
capital Mogadishu, where security forces are battling Islamist
"This is an advance team of
They are assessing the situation and deployment of their troops
will follow later," said an AMISOM official. He did not give a
The AU has raised less than half the 8,000 peacekeepers it needs
to deploy in Somalia to help restore stability in the country torn
apart by internecine war for the past 17 years.
Burundi -- which has
850 troops in Mogadishu -- is expected to deploy a total of
1,700 soldiers in Somalia, alongside around 1,600 troops from
Uganda who have been in the capital since March last year.
In early 2007, the Nigerian army announced plans to send troops
to Somalia, but the deployment was delayed by worsening security in
Over the past year, Mogadishu has been rocked by almost daily
violence pitting Ethiopian-backed Somali forces against Islamist
The guerrilla fighting has killed hundreds of civilians and
forced tens of thousands to flee.