World Bulletin / News Desk
Uganda has started withdrawing its troops from Somalia, where they have been fighting al-Shabaab terrorists for 10 years, the military said Thursday.
“The reduction has already started and UPDF [Uganda People's Defence Forces] shall be in compliance by Dec. 31,” spokesman Brig. Richard Karemire said. He said 281 soldiers would leave Somalia by the end of the year.
Uganda was the first country to deploy troops under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in March 2007, according to the mission’s website.
It has provided all four AMISOM commanders and has the largest contingent of troops -- more than 6,200 soldiers based in Mogadishu and the Middle and Lower Shabelle regions.
It has also sent hundreds of police officers to the conflict-torn country.
The withdrawal is being carried out under UN Security Council plans for troop-contributing countries to replace military units with police.
The plan calls for AMISOM personnel numbers to be cut to 20,626 by October 2018 as Somalian security forces shoulder the work of combating terrorism.
Karemire said the gradual handover of security responsibilities would be “in tandem with the capacity-building of the Somali National Forces.”
Troops from Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sierra Leone make up the AMISOM force.
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