British troops arrive in Somalia to counter Islamist militants
British troops have arrived in Somalia as part of a United Nations mission to fight against terrorism.
African Union peacekeeping efforts against the al-Shabab group will be backed by a contingent of about 10 soldiers from Force Troop Command, 1 Div and Field Army training.
About 70 people will be deployed in Somalia to carry out medical, logistical and engineering duties. For years, Al-Shabab has been seeking to control the country and has been combatting the government. This Islamist militant group linked to al-Qaeda, which is believed to gather up to 9,000 fighters, has led many attacks - including in neighbouring Kenya.
Launched in 2007, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is mainly made up of troops from Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia.
British soldiers will also be deployed to the conflict in South Sudan.
Those deployments arise out of a commitment by UK Prime Minister David Cameron at the UN in New York in September in connection with the Strategic Defence and Security Review to increase the number of UK troops on UN "blue-hatted" peacekeeping missions so as to back the efforts and actions implemented to put an end to some of the world's most destabilising conflicts.
Speaking at the time, Mr Cameron declared operations “will help to alleviate serious humanitarian and security issues... helping to bring stability to the region and preventing these challenges from spreading further afield”.
Britain, a financial contributor to UN peacekeeping missions, stands as the fifth highest provider of funds.
(With BBC Africa)