Lifeline for AMISOM as Europe says will give cash for Somalia anti-terror battle

The $187m cash will be used to pay the salaries of troops, police and civilians as well as for the mission’s costs to year-end, the AU said.

THE  European Union will give the African Union 165 million euros ($187 million) to fund its mission against Somalia’s Al-Shabaab militants.

The cash will be used to pay the salaries of troops, police and civilians as well as for the Somalia mission’s operational costs for the seven months through year-end, the African Union said Monday in an e-mailed statement.

Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Burundi and Djibouti contribute troops to the AMISOM mission that was created in 2007.

Al-Shabaab is trying to overthrow the Western-backed government in Somalia and establish a strict version of Islamic law. The group still carries out frequent gun and grenade attacks even after losing control of large chunks of territory to government troops backed by the African forces.

The mission has in recent months had to contend with allegations of malpractice, including theft of supplies and non-payment of soldiers.

In September Uganda media reported the country’s soldiers had not been paid for nine months, following a deadly militant attack on Ugandan peacekeepers. Army spokesmen said the arrears were less—at five months.

The Somali government, whose soldiers support AMISOM, has also struggled to pay its soldiers, fuelling concern that disgruntled soldiers were were hurting the counterterrorism fight, with a potential to set frontline countries such as Kenya and Uganda on edge.

A surge in Al-Shabaab attacks targeting the mission raised concerns of internal disorganisation.

Last week the United Arab Emirates signed a deal to pay part of the salaries of Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers.

A leaked UN report said that senior Somali military officials have been inflating troop numbers with a view to benefitting from donor funding.

According to the UN Monitoring Group, the “extent of misappropriation and impunity within SNA has dented donor confidence” in the government. Mogadishu has said the UN concerns are without merit.

In September Britain said it would send up to 70 troops to Somalia to support soldiers of AMISOM but did not give a date.

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