South Africa says no troops for Somalia

Jan. 26, 2007 at 8:30 AM
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MOGADISHU, Somalia, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- South Africa will not send peacekeepers to war-torn Somalia but will consider other avenues of support, officials say.

The decision was announced by Defense Minister Mosiuoa Lekota after discussing the matter with President Thabo Mbeki.

There had been concerns that another peacekeeping mission would strain the country's defense resources, the Shaybelle Network said. South Africa currently is involved in similar missions in other parts of Africa.

Lekota said he supported the view of the African Union and the United Nations that there was a need for a strong peacekeeping force in Somalia. But, South Africa's force is already over-extended and other ways will be sought to help Somalia, he said.

South Africa currently has forces deployed in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Sudan and Ethiopia/Eritrea.

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