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SOMALIA: Atmis troops demand pay arrears as mission nears end

ATMIS

Questions of accountability are starting to emerge as different cohorts of Uganda’s military deployed for peacekeeping operations in Somalia have gone for 27 months, spread across five years, without pay, despite the European Union – the mission’s biggest funder – regularly disbursing funds to cover allowances for at least 5,000 peacekeepers serving in the war-torn country.

The latest cohort, who returned from Somalia on December 31, 2022, did not receive any payment for all the 12 months they spent in the Horn of Africa country, while the one it replaced in November 2021 was also not paid for nine months.

Sources said that Ugandan peacekeepers in Somalia miss a chunk of their pay, with each of 1,500 soldiers – identified in military parlance as a battle group – missing one to three months’ pay in 2020, 2019 and 2018.

‘Problem is elsewhere’

A diplomat of an EU country told The EastAfrican that “the problem is elsewhere” and that all money approved for Somalia had been disbursed for all the years in question. This shines a spotlight on Uganda, whose decision to lead the Africa fight against al Shabaab militants in Somalia, won it respect.

Uganda was the first country to have boots on the ground in 2007 in the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), which mutated to the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (Atmis) in April 2022.