UK pledges millions of dollars for African Union force in Somalia

Britain has pledged $9.1 million in new funding for African Union troops in Somalia (Amisom) as well as $78 million to help Somalis recover from the country’s 2017 devastating drought.

The pledge was announced by Prime Minister Theresa May in Nairobi on her first state visit to Kenya. Margaret Thatcher was the last British premier to visit Kenya, in 1988.

May said Britain would also give $32 million to Somalia’s federal government, which is struggling to assert control beyond Mogadishu.

“We are leading international efforts to ensure Amisom has the funding it needs to support its vital battle against terror,” she said.

Prime Minister Theresa May added that “Somalia is at a critical juncture and sustainable, predictable funding and support for the troops who are building stability in the region is vital to support a transition to Somali-led security, when the conditions for a handover are right”.

Amisom has been fighting alongside Somali government forces against al-Shabab for more than 10 years.

Meanwhile, the UK said it plans to support Kenya’s government to bring people committing financial crimes to justice by helping to identify proceeds of crime and seizing criminal property.

Britain’s Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin, who is accompanying Ms. May, signed a new deal with Nairobi to return stolen funds that have been moved out of Kenya and are hidden in banks in the UK.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta launched an anti-corruption campaign in May, and dozens of senior government has so far been arrested and charged over the theft of millions of dollars of public funds.

Farah Yussuf is a Digital Reporter with Star FM Kenya. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from Masinde Muliro University.

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