Uganda begins withdrawal of troops from Somalia

Uganda’s military says it has begun withdrawing its troops from Somalia, serving under the African Union peace keeping mission (AMISOM).

The country will pull 281 soldiers out of the Horn of African nation as part of a United Nations plan that will see AU soldiers’ numbers reduced by 1,000 by the end of this year.

There are currently more than 20,000 soldiers serving in Somalia under AMISOM.

Uganda, which first sent troops to the country in 2007, is the biggest contributor with more than 6,000 soldiers in the force.

Kenya, Burundi, Djibouti and Ethiopia are also expected to reduce their numbers by 31 December.

Somalia has been dogged by war for nearly a decade, orchestrated by jihadist group al-Shabaab which aims to topple the government and institute a strict sharia-based system of governance.

The war has killed thousands in that duration, displacing hundreds of thousands others.

Efforts to develop Somalia’s national army are gaining ground.

The US has already increased its troop numbers in the country to more than 500 and stepped up airstrikes – boosting its co-operation with the Somali military.