By Jane Nambi
As the siege of the Kenya Westgate Mall came to an end, the Chief of Defense Forces, Gen. Katumba Wamala has come out to say that the group fighting Al-Qaeda related terrorist group, Al-Shabaab in Somalia, AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)has been stretched thin and has already reached its limit.
Gen. Katumba has pointed out that there is need to increase the troops in Somalia as the war to end the insurgency in the country continues. “We have been stretched and we cannot get more with the present force level. We have reached the limit and cannot expand anymore. We can only consolidate and clean up areas,” Gen. Katumba said.
He went on to reveal that the troops need to be increased from the current 17,731 up to between 20,000 and 25,000 troops, equipped with force multipliers and enablers in form of helicopters for aerial combat and evacuation.
Gen. Katumba made the statements during yesterday, Tuesday’s press conference at the Ministry of Defence headquarters in Mbuya. He pointed out that the current troops cannot cover more ground without becoming more vulnerable to the enemy Al-shabaab. “It’s not a good development as far as defeating Al-shabaab,” he told journalists adding that the African Union should sooner than later intervene to address this issue.
African Union troops come from Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Djibouti. Uganda has close to 7,000 troops under AMISOM at the moment. “As a commander, I would rather do something short, sharp and finish; than do something which is endless as it has been happening. It’s like giving a patient a dose which keeps him alive but does not cure,” said Gen. Katumba.