David Cameron has announced that dozens of British troops are to be deployed to Somalia in order to fight the impending insurgence of Islamic State militants.
The Somali government is currently battling the al-Shabab militant group, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia, to regain control over large regions of the country, mainly the Southern and Central regions of Somalia.
A United Nations contingent support are currently in Somalia and are deployed around Africa supporting African Union troops fighting the militants. David Cameron has announced that up to 70 British troops will be joining the UN contingent and in excess of 300 could be deployed in South Sudan in the coming months.
Mr Cameron and other world leaders are set to hold talks with Somalia’s president Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud as to how they can help curb the insurgence of al –Shabab who are currently battling Somalia’s government for control of the country.
The British PM said that the deployment of British troops could help to stem the flow of migrants coming into Europe and may help reduce the terror threat levels in the UK. “It’s in our national interest that Somalia doesn’t slip back into being a terrorist state. Britain need to step up and we should be playing a part in this. The outcome in Somalia, if it’s a good outcome, that’s good for Britain”. However the PM has come under criticism as he did not consult parliament before announcing his plans to the UN.
Somalia, a country struggling after decades of violence are set to welcome the support. The British troops are to be sent to the country on a peace keeping mission, which will involve providing the army and local government with combat training, and medical, logistical and engineering support. The same is also set to take place in South Sudan. However British troops will not actually be taking up arms and won’t be involved in any on the ground conflict.
“It’s not committing troops to conflict, it’s committing troops to a UN blue-hatted peacekeeping role – as we’ve done many times in the past, as we will do in the future, and one of the reasons we’re doing it is obviously the expertise that British troops have in training, engineering, and mentoring and we’re raising the standard for peacekeeping troops which has had some issues and problems in the recent past”.