Southern Sudan: Offering our troops to fight Somalia’s war is unwise

Category: Writing aboard the Kenya Airways: A story on coming to Rwanda for the first time
Published on Wednesday, 17 August 2011 15:44
Written by Kuol Mayiir, The New Sudan Vision (NSV),
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(Melbourne, Australia) - On Monday 15, I heard of our care taker Foreign Minister, Deng Alor Kuol, announcing an offer to send our soldiers to Somalia as a good gesture to help consolidate the power of the Somali government and African Union troops battling Al-Shabaab Millitants. I was shocked to hear what such a move will give us as Southern Sudanese.


Al-Shabaab Militants, often known as “The Youth” or “The Boys", is a group of Islamist militants fighting to overthrow the government of Somalia. They are composed of foreign fighters and use suicide bombings. The have strong ties with Al-Qaida and the Taliban of Pakistan and Afghanistan.  They are supported by Iran, Egypt, Libya and other Persian Gulf countries.


On 11 July 2010, Al-Shabaab carried out some of the most deadly suicide bombings ever, against crowds watching a screening of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final at two locations in Kampala, Uganda. The attacks left 74 dead and 70 injured.  The group promptly claimed responsibility for the attacks as retaliation for Ugandan support for African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM).  In 2008, United States Department of State designated al-Shabaab as a foreign terrorist organization.


As Dr John Garang said, “Common sense dictates the answer”, we don’t need to send troops to Somalia. Sending troops to Somalia is like throwing a boomerang that would undoubtedly strike us in the face. Although principles of internationalism advocate transnational goodwill, this offer does not serve the interest of our people and country at large.


Many nations who send troops to foreign nations have either ulterior or monetary motive.  Ethiopia sent its forces in 2006 to Somalia and was offered 100 million of military aid every year by the US. Uganda also sent its troop to Somalia in 2007 to secure military assistance. Burundi too did the same.  Nigeria and Malawi didn’t want to get involved in endless foreign war.


Our government seems to have two embryonic ideas to get dragged in a foreign war: (1) To secure foreign military aid, and (2) to gain good reputation and leverage for Abyei’s situation which hasn’t been interceded, by showing that we are peace devotees.


Sending troops to Somalia is very inopportune and will make Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaida target and attack our people and country. Our valiant soldiers had been exhausted in our own struggle for freedom and dignity and will be put at risk by this badly timed offer. Why would we want to loss another soldier in a foreign war when they have survived ours?


Why would we want our country to be the target of a terrorist organization? The architect of the offer needs to thing again. African Union is a very underresourced organization and is likely to accept such an unsuitable offer.


Our country is starting from scratch and needs to know that taking part in a foreign war is not the first priority. There are more serious matters that need prompt action such as education, health and other important domains of life rather than making an offer to fight a foreign war.


The offer to send troops to Somalia needs to be abandoned. Let our soldiers deal with our internal issues such as disarmament and other issues of concern or otherwise let them rest.  Abandon the offer because losing another soldier or civilian because of a foreign war is not wise.


**Kuol Mayiir is Psychology student at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. He can be reached atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .