UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond announced on Thursday plans to send 70 British troops to Somalia to enhance its security forces ahead of the August elections.
“Britain is increasing its support to the UN peace operations, with around 70 British military personnel deploying to Somalia,” Hammond was quoted in a statement as saying.
The UK foreign policy chief came to the East African country on an unannounced visit after a hotel siege in Somali capital Mogadishu ended early Thursday. The attack by al-Qaeda linked al-Shabaab militants killed two members of parliament with dual British citizenship.
“A secure and stable Somalia is the UK’s top priority in East Africa and is in our own national security interests,” Hammond said.
Somalia has been experiencing violence since the country devolved into civil war in the early 1990s. The state’s collapse provided a breeding ground for warlords, pirates and the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabaab terrorist group.