Uganda’s military chief said Friday the country plans to withdraw its more than 6,000 troops from the African Union force in Somalia by December 2017. The Ugandans are the largest troop contingent in the AU force trying to protect the Somali government from the extremist group al-Shabab.
Gen. Katumba Wamala told The Associated Press that the Ugandan government believes it has achieved its goal of helping to stabilize the Horn of Africa country.
Wamala said the decision to withdraw is also fueled by frustration with international partners, including the U.S. and the European Union, that he accused of not doing enough to train the Somali military.
Uganda’s government said last month it was reviewing its operations in Somalia after the EU cut its funding to the AU mission in Somalia by 20 percent.
More than 22,000 troops and police serve in the AU force, which also includes troops from Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia.
The Islamic extremist group al-Shabab opposes the presence of foreign troops in Somalia and has launched attacks in countries that have contributed to the AU force.
Although al-Shabab was ousted from the Somali capital, Mogadishu, in 2011, it continues to wage a deadly guerrilla campaign that includes suicide bombings.