KAMPALA. African Union (AU) peacekeeping troops in Somalia have halted capturing more territory from Islamic militants, a development security experts warn may reverse successes made in the lawless Horn of African country.
Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, Chief of Defense Forces of the Ugandan military, told reporters on Tuesday that the AU force has hit its limit regarding troop numbers, noting that expanding their operation would instead over stretch the soldiers.
“We have been discussing this with the AU and the United Nations. We have really been stretched to the maximum and we don’t think we can expand more in terms of getting more areas under control with the present force levels,” he told reporters at the Ministry of Defense headquarters.
“If the present force levels cannot be surged plus bringing into play force enablers and force multipliers like attack helicopters and transport helicopters, it would be very difficult for us to continue operating and thinking of opening up new areas which we may not be able to defend adequately.”
Katumba said the best that can be done under the circumstance is to consolidate and clean up the area which the force is controlling now.
“We would have loved to link up with Kismayo, so that we have the whole stretch from Kismayo up to Mogadishu cleared but we cannot do that simply because we are overstretched. The more we stretch, the thinner we get on the ground and the more exposed we get to the Al-Shabaab,” he said.