AMISOM denies 3,000 deaths in Somalia since 2007

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Saturday May 11, 2013 - 18:52:05 in Local News by Chief Editor
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    AMISOM denies 3,000 deaths in Somalia since 2007

    The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has used its twitter account to dismiss as “simply untrue” media reports quoting figures suggesting that the mission had lost up to 3000 troops since 2007.

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The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has used its twitter account to dismiss as “simply untrue” media reports quoting figures suggesting that the mission had lost up to 3000 troops since 2007.

The media had quoted United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson as saying on Thursday “You would be shocked to learn that maybe it is up to 3,000 AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia) soldiers that have been killed during these years that AMISOM has been there.”

In an attempt to debunk the claims, AMISOM said although it “has learnt that media reports indicate that it lost up to 3000 peacekeepers since 2007…that figure is simply untrue”.

In successive tweets at around 16:44 GMT on Friday, it stopped short of naming the UN official involved, adding: “In Africa every individual death is sacred and we are not in the habit of counting the number of dead. That’s why we call them martyrs.

“For us even one African death is a huge loss but they died for a noble cause. We simply honour their ultimate sacrifice for their brothers and sister”.

The force, which began deploying in 2007, has 17,700 troops from Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Djibouti.

Eliasson on Thursday spoke about the tremendous price Burundi and Ugandan troops, and to some extent Kenyans have had to pay.

“I want to pay tribute to the countries and to their soldiers who paid such an enormously heavy price” he said.

According to the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations, 3,096 U.N. peacekeepers have died since 1948.

AMISOM has been involved in a military campaign in Somalia to end Islamist insurgency and bring stability in the war-ravaged country.

The multinational force has scored spectacular successes against the Islamist group al Shabaab, driving its militias out of the capital Mogadishu and other urban centres although insurgents still hold sway in some villages and towns in the south of the country.