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Africa

Uganda slams Western pirate strategy in Somalia

media Men believed to be pirates in a boat off the Somali coast

The Western strategy toward piracy in Somalia is wasteful and inefficient, Uganda has said. The international community should spend its money on the African Union instead of funding naval operations off the Somali coast, according to the Ugandan foreign ministry.

"The international reaction has been: 'Let's deal with piracy. Let's have our commanders there.' It is a good reaction, but it has not been successful," James Mugume, permanent secretary at Uganda's foreign ministry, told reporters.

Explainer - Who are Al-Shebab?

European and American navies have launched navy operations off the Somali coast to protect western vessels from increasing attacks from Somali pirates. Currently the Somali pirates hold some 30 vessels and more than 500 crew hostage.

Mugume urged the UN Security Council to strengthen the African Union force in Somalia. Ugandan troops make up the bulk of the AU’s 7,500-strong force in Somalia, which has been protecting the Somali government which controls only part of the capital Mogadishu.

Mugume says Uganda’s plan to contain piracy is cheaper and more efficient."The concept of operation we presented to the Security Council is: let's take over the territory of Somalia. Let's block the ports ... and the issue of piracy will automatically be reduced."

Uganda’s tenure at the UN Security Council expires next month and it has been pushing the UN to beef up the African Union force in Somalia. On 11 July, suicide bombers killed at least 76 people in Kampala in an attack that was claimed by the Somali al-Shebab.
 

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