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AU renews Somali peace force mandate

by Staff Writers
Addis Ababa (AFP) Jan 8, 2010
The African Union on Friday extended the mandate of its Somalia peacekeeping mission by six months and called for more support for the country's embattled transitional government.

"During our discussions, there was unanimous support for the renewal of the African force in Somalia," the AU's Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra told a press conference.

The force, whose first batch of troops from Uganda arrived in early 2007, has been the regular target of attacks by Islamist insurgents which have killed dozens of soldiers.

The mission is nearly 3,000 short of its intended target strength of 8,000 troops, with Uganda and Burundi the only countries to so far provide manpower.

"The international community needs to put more means and ressources at the disposal of the TFG," Lamamra added, referring to Somalia's transitional federal government, also a target of the extremist militia.

AU commission chief Jean Ping said Djibouti was planning to send 450 soldiers and Burundi was to dispatch an additional batallion of 800 men.

Uganda is also to send another batallion by March with the support of the United States, he added.

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Talks start in Guinea on new prime minister
Conakry (AFP) Jan 7, 2010
Talks began Thursday on who would be Guinea's new prime minister, after the military junta announced it was ready to share power with the opposition to end a crisis in the west African country. The announcement by interim junta leader General Sekouba Konate late Wednesday was welcomed by the United States and the regional bloc ECOWAS on Thursday, and led one exiled opposition leader to say ... read more

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