The United Nations has called for an increase in the number of African Union troop deployed in Somalia to tackle the terror group Al Shabaab.
In a report to the Security Council, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon recommended an increase of 6,235 uniformed support workers assigned to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
The increase would bring the total number of troops and AMISOM administrative personnel to nearly 24,000.
This appeal by the UN chief comes weeks after the African Union endorsed a move to boost its Somalia force by 35 percent to step up its fight against Al Qaeda-linked Shabaab rebels.
Ban Ki-Moon also asked UN member-states to urgently supply AMISOM with helicopters and other weapons presently unavailable to the Kenyan, Ugandan, Burundian and Sierra Leonean troops that make up the current force.
Uganda is the biggest contributor to the AU force of about 18,000.
The force, funded mainly by the United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) is fighting the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia.
Reporting on his recent visit to Kenya and Somalia, UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson told the Security Council that after 18 months of successful operations that uprooted Al-Shabaab from major cities, the campaign by AMISOM and Somali forces has stalled, in recent months.
“Without a sufficient level of security, what we have worked so hard for could be sacrificed,” Jan Eliasson, who just returned from a visit to the capital city of Mogadishu, said in a briefing to the Council.
Ban Ki-Moon cited the terror attack at the Westgate Mall, which occurred on 21st September, warning that the silence has allowed Al-Shabaab to prepare more ambitious complex attacks.
Somalia has been torn asunder by factional fighting since 1991 but has recently made progress towards stability. In 2011, Al-Shabaab insurgents retreated from Mogadishu and last year, new Government institutions emerged, as the country ended a transitional phase toward setting up a permanent, democratically-elected Government.
Additional Reporting By Agencies