SOMALIA: AU Peacekeepers Establish Nine Additional Bases
African Union peacekeepers have established nine new bases in Somalia's capital in recent months and will help develop Somali government forces to defeat al-Qaida-linked Islamist insurgents, an AU official said Friday.
The announcement follows several days of bloody clashes in Somalia's capital of Mogadishu. The bloodshed that has left more than 100 people dead comes amid growing concern over the insurgency's ability to mount terrorist attacks.
The gradual expansion of peacekeeping bases follows an abandoned plan for a dramatic offensive by government forces earlier this year. The government soldiers were not properly trained or equipped, and diplomats say there was concern that they would not be able to hold any territory they took.
The nine new bases have been established over the past five months, often after heavy fighting. They have helped secure a key road linking Somali government buildings with the airport, where the peacekeeping force has its main base. The Associated Press (3 September 2010)