UK to send troops to Somalia
Britain is to send more than 300 troops to Somalia and possibly South Sudan to train soldiers and boost security in the region, Downing Street said Monday.
The deployment is meant to counter instability in the region and will be carried out in coordination with UN peacekeeping missions.
The British troops will provide medical, logistical, and engineering support and combat training, the government said, without detailing a time frame.
“There’s the right thing to do, there’s the moral responsibility… but there’s also a strong rationale for doing it in terms of what is good for both security in the region and our own security,” the Downing Street has announced.
Prime Minister David Cameron is set to confirm the move at the UN General Assembly in New York.
Cameron had already emphasized that improving stability in countries hit by unrest could reduce immigration to Britain.
The plan marks a significant increase in UK participation in UN peacekeeping operations, an area where Britain has traditionally being a strong contributor in financial terms but has provided much fewer personnel than other participating countries, the Wall Street Journal reported. The UK’s main UN peacekeeping mission is in Cyprus, where it currently has about 280 troops.
Ayo Johnson, an award winning journalist on Africa developments, has told Press TV that Britain is looking for special interests in Somalia and South Sudan.
“The only interest that the British government will have [in South Sudan] will be in terms of oil,” said Johnson who is also the director of the London-based Viewpoint Africa news website. “South Sudan has immense amounts of oil. The British government is more interested in this country’s oil.”
He further emphasized that London’s military interference in Somalia is in line with its policy to control the Horn of Africa.
Nevertheless, he emphasized that London’s planned deployments to Somalia and South Sudan could eventually deteriorate – instead of helping rein in – instability in the two countries.
“Those two countries can now become a focal point and a frontline in terms of any local groups coming to fight the British there and that’s a real worry,” Johnson said. “Al-Shabab for example could want to increase its operations [in Somalia] just because the British are there,” he told Press TV’s UK Desk.