British troops to be deployed in Somalia, South Sudan

London, Sep 28 (IANS) Prime Minister David Cameron announced the deployment of British troops in Somalia and South Sudan to train African peacekeeping forces in order to have “less terrorism and less migration”, the media reported.

The prime minister on Sunday said he was offering forces to the UN and African Union (AU) missions to help tackle conflicts that are facilitating the rise of terrorist groups in Somalia and prompting mass migration from South Sudan, where 2 million people have been displaced by the battle between the government and rebels, The Guardian reported.

About 70 military personnel will be offered to help in Somalia, where a peacekeeping unit is present to tackle the threat of the Islamist group al-Shabaab. They will not be involved in combat operations but will help train AU forces in areas including logistics, engineering and medical aid.

Further troops – about 250 to 300 over the course of several missions – are being sent to carry out specific tasks in South Sudan, such as engineering advice and combat training.

Cameron will offer the troops at a session on UN peacekeeping on Monday, hosted by secretary general Ban Ki-moon and US president Barack Obama with dozens of other member states expected to make contributions.

“We think Britain has a particular role in training and logistics and expertise and standards, so we want to step up what we are doing. But let me stress, we all want to see all the right force-protection arrangements in place but we should be playing a part in this,’ Cameron said.

“What happens in Somalia, if it’s a good outcome, it’s good for Britain, it means less terrorism, less migration, less piracy; ditto South Sudan.”

He said it was “absolutely vital that the international community works together to shore up stability in Africa”.

Britain has contributed to many peacekeeping forces over the years, wearing the distinctive blue berets of the UN, but its role is largely limited now to providing about 280 troops participating in the current mission in Cyprus.

About 260 million pounds (about $390 million) has been given in aid to South Sudan since the start of the civil war in December 2013.

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