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Bad news in the five-year-old U.S. proxy war against al-Qaida–allied Somali insurgents. Half of the U.S.-supplied weaponry that enables cash-strapped Ugandan and Burundian troops to fight Somalia’s al-Shabab terror group is winding up in al-Shabab’s hands.
The kicker: It’s the cash-strapped Ugandans who are selling the weapons to the insurgents.
This revelation, buried in U.N. reports and highlighted by controversial war correspondent Robert Young Pelton at his new Somalia Report website, raises some unsettling questions about Washington’s plans to out-source more wars in the f
...Washington pays the troops and sends them regular consignments of guns, rockets and ammo. Between 2007 and 2009, the bill for U.S. taxpayers came to around $200 million — and has probably doubled since then.
The problem is, the Ugandan army withholds most of the peacekeepers’ $550 monthly paychecks, keeping the money in bank accounts in Uganda accessible only by the troops’ families. Considering “limited shopping opportunities for embattled AMISOM troops, you would think that makes sense to keep their money at home,” Pelton wrote. “Except that the AMISOM payment debacle leaves thousands of troops surrounded by tons of weapons with no way to buy even ’small small’ things like personal items, sweets or mobile phone recharges to call home.”