The African Union (AU) has asked the United Nations Security Council to approve a no-fly zone and naval blockade of Somalia.
Ramtane Lamamra, the AU’s commissioner for peace and security, said the move would deter pirates operating off the country’s coast and prevent fighters and shipments from reaching the al-Qaeda linked al-Shabab group, and other groups fighting to topple the largely powerless UN-backed government.
He also urged the Security Council to support the boosting of its African Union Mission to Somalia (Amisom) to 20,000 troops from the current level of 7,200, mostly fom Uganda and Burundi.
“The international community can decide to pursue its current policy of limited engagement and halfhearted measures, in the false hope that the situation can be contained … the international community can also decide it should step up its efforts,” he said.
Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, signalled his backing for increasing the resources of Amisom, saying that recent advances against al-Shabab and other such groups showed there were “glimmers of hope” in Somalia and called on the council to take “bold and courageous decisions”.
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