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KAMPALA, Uganda | Leaders of the African Union agreed at a summit Monday to reinforce the AU peacekeeping mission in Somalia to counter al-Shabab insurgents, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin told Agence France-Presse.
“This summit has just approved the requests made by the Intergovernmental Authority for Development,” a six-nation east African grouping, which had asked for 2,000 extra troops, he said.
They would reinforce the 6,000 Ugandan and Burundian soldiers already in Mogadishu for the African Union.
Al-Shabab, an Islamist extremist group that controls most of central and western Somalia, has taken responsibility for two bomb attacks in Uganda’s capital Kampala on July 11. They killed 76 people gathered to watch telecasts of the World Cup final.
Al-Shabab has said the aim of the attacks was to force the withdrawal of AU troops who have been helping to sustain Somalia’s transitional government, whose authority is limited only to a few districts of the capital Mogadishu.
Army battles rebels; dozens die
SAN’A | Yemeni soldiers battled Shiite rebels a short distance from the capital on Monday in clashes that killed dozens, a tribal leader said.
A cease-fire unraveled in June, re-igniting a six-year conflict that spilled across the border last year by drawing in the Saudi military. The new fighting threatens to siphon Yemeni military resources away from a separate battle against the country’s al Qaeda offshoot.
The U.S. and other countries have pressured Yemen to resolve the rebellion so that it can concentrate on fighting the al Qaeda faction, which is suspected of masterminding the failed attempt to bomb an airliner in the U.S. on Christmas Day.
Fighting in Yemen’s northern provinces killed at least 53 people last week, and rebels have seized several towns.
Monday’s battles took place in the town of al-Zalaa, 75 miles north of the capital.
French face fight after al Qaeda slaying
PARIS | If France is to strike back after al Qaeda killed one of its citizens, as President Nicolas Sarkozy promised Monday, it will have to work closely with allied West African armies, experts said.
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