JULY 25, 2010: Museveni Hosts 35 African Leaders

Museveni Hosts 35 African Leaders

SOURCE: New Vision

Kampala — The African Union (AU) Summit opened yesterday with world leaders condemning the Somalia-based al-Shabaab terrorists.

Thirty-five heads of state and government are attending the summit at Munyonyo which is expected to end tomorrow. The leaders called for a united front to kick terrorists out of Africa.

In his address, President Yoweri Museveni urged the AU to "sweep the terrorists out of Africa."

"Let them go back to Asia and the Middle East where they come from. I reject this new form of colonialism through terrorism."

Museveni said many of the organisers of the July 11 twin bombings in Kampala, which killed 76 people had been arrested and their interrogation revealed "very good information."

"In Somalia, they recently attacked the government and the AU forces. But they got the punishment they deserved. AU members should not accept this arrogance. Who are these people who dare attack the AU flag? Whose interest do they represent, where do their loyalties lie? These terrorists can be and will be resisted.

"As you know, I have a long experience in warfare. However, I have great contempt for the authors of terrorism who attack children and unarmed civilians. I am glad that the whole of Africa has condemned them. Let us shoot them out of Africa," Museveni said.

Foreign affairs Permanent Secretary James Mugume said foreign delegations included four vice-presidents and three prime ministers. The summit is focusing on maternal, infant and child health and development.

Delegates from 49 African countries have been discussing various AU issues since July 18, including a session on peace and security and the private sector

Malawian President Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika, who is the AU chairman, said: "I condemn the attack on the innocent civilians in Kampala, in the strongest terms. That violence against civilians does not advance humanity but disrupts progress.

"Terror has no place in Africa and no place in humanity. Those involved should find other ways of addressing their differences rather than waste human life," he said before calling for two minutes of silence in respect to the deceased.

African Union Commission chairman Jean Ping said the security situation in Somalia remained worrying.

He said the transitional government was trying to reach out to some of the fighting groups for peace talks.

Earlier, he said the strength of the peacekeeping troops in the war-torn Somalia was about to double when the African Union deploys another 6,000 soldiers.

Two battalions, one from Guinea and another from Djibouti and 2,000 more soldiers from the IGAD countries will soon be deployed. "Very quickly we are increasing from the 6,100 contributed by Burundi and Uganda. There are countries that are ready and are waiting for our green light. We shall go beyond the authorised strength of 8,000 troops," he said.

Ping revealed that a military team from Guinea was being briefed in Addis Ababa, before it moves to Mogadishu to assess the conditions before the country deploys its troops.

Goodluck Jonathan, the President of Nigeria, also condemned the terrorist killings in Kampala two weeks ago

He noted that such acts of violence on innocent people cannot solve any problems but only create new ones. He regretted that while Africa was celebrating the successful hosting of the World Cup in Africa, Uganda was mourning victims of terror.

"Nigeria unreservedly condemns the bomb attacks and expresses solidarity with President Yoweri Museveni and my dear brothers and sisters in Uganda," he said.

The Nigerian leader thanked African leaders for their words of empathy and personal visits following the death of former Nigerian president, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua. He described Yar'Adua as a champion of the rule of law, accountability and transparency.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas extended his condolences over the attacks and thanked Uganda for supporting Somalia, which he said was suffering from the burden of terrorism expansion.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon and the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Granadines, Ralph Goncalves, said the terrorist attacks caused a lot of anguish in the world.

"It was with much pain and anger that we learnt about the murderous acts against the innocent people. Our gathering here is to tell the terrorists, 'You can fight us, you can scare us but you can never win.' We are with President Museveni on this," said Goncalves, who spoke on behalf of the Caribbean leaders.

S.E.M. Moussa, the secretary general of the Arab League, said terrorism is intended to threaten people's security.

"Our position on terrorism is one, rejection and fighting it." He thanked the AU for prioritising stabilising Somalia and promised that the Arab League would work with the continental body to put an end to the Somali crisis.

He recommended that a ministerial committee comprising members from AU, Organisation of Islamic Conference, Arab League and UN be set up to tackle the instability, terrorism and piracy in Somalia.

The UN Deputy Secretary General, Asha Rose Migiro, said the Kampala bombings showed that no country is immune to terrorists.

She called for the implementation of the UN Counter-Terrorism Strategy - with a global response.

"The attacks also show that the Somali crisis has a direct impact on regional and global security. We must strengthen our resolve to do more in our search for stability in that country. That means supporting the transitional federal government there, both in its reconciliation efforts and in its fight against extremism," Migiro advised.

She paid special tribute to the AU Mission in Somalia and to Uganda and Burundi for contributing troops to the war-ravaged country.

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