President Yoweri Museveni has threatened to withdraw his country’s forces from the peacekeeping mission in Somalia if the United Nations insists on reducing the number of troops on the mission.

Due to declining and irregular funding, the UN Security Council, in Resolution 2372 of 2017, proposed a phased drawdown of peacekeepers in Somalia with a full pullout by 2020.

The Ugandan president, who has recently become critical of the UN, said he had personally informed the Security Council that Uganda would withdraw its 6,400 contingent from Somalia if it is forced to scale down.

This comes after Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza threatened to pull out of Amisom if the funders of the mission insist that Bujumbura recall its 1,000 soldiers.

Mr Museveni, while addressing a high-level meeting of ministers in charge of refugees in the Great Lakes Region in Kampala on Thursday, said the Security Council’s move was a “total lack of seriousness” to the task of flushing Al Shabaab out.

“They recommended I should reduce the number of soldiers but I will not reduce even a single one, unless I take all of them out of Somalia,” Mr Museveni said.

According to President Museveni, pulling the peacekeeping force out of Somalia should be done after the host country has built a strong enough army to defend itself.

The challenge here is that Mogadishu has no money to build a large army but Mr Museveni, himself a former rebel, thinks payments can wait if the government considers recruiting volunteer patriotic nationals willing to liberate their country.

Source: The East African