Somalia wants Ugandan troops to remain
By Yara Bayoumy and Elias Biryabarema
KAMPALA/MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somalia's prime minister said on Saturday that it could be a challenge for his country if Uganda followed through on a threat to withdraw troops fighting Islamist rebels in southern Somalia.
Uganda's foreign affairs ministry said earlier that it would withdraw from peace keeping initiatives in Africa unless the United Nations amended a report accusing it of supporting rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid told Reuters in an interview that Somalia had not yet received any official communication from Uganda on the issue of withdrawing from the African Union force known as AMISOM.
"We are not impressed with that message. We would like to work with AMISOM in that respect," he said.
"The Ugandans have contributed significantly and a lot, and this is now a critical moment and in light of that we are of the view, if the media reports turn out to be true, it may be a challenge."
Stung by accusations of support for Congo's M23 rebel group, Uganda's security minister said on Friday Kampala would tell the United Nations it was withdrawing its forces from military operations in Somalia and other regional hotspots.
Uganda and its neighbour Rwanda have denied accusations contained in a leaked report by a U.N. Group of Experts that the two countries have helped the M23 rebels, whose warlord leader has been indicted by the International Criminal Court.
"Uganda's withdrawal from regional peace efforts, including Somalia, CAR (Central African Republic) etc would become inevitable unless the U.N. corrects the false accusations made against Uganda, by bringing out the truth about Uganda's role in the current regional efforts," the foreign ministry said in a statement. Continued...