Uganda, AU hold talks over delayed peacekeeping allowances

The Ugandan military is in talks with the African Union (AU) over delays on allowances to its soldiers serving with the AU Peacekeeping Mission in Somalia.

Army spokesman, Paddy Ankunda, said that more than 6,000 Ugandan soldiers had not been paid by AU for the last four months.

“We are engaging the AU about the matter. We hope the delay and bureaucracy will be sorted out so that our soldiers’ allowances will be paid,” he said.

Ankunda attributed that to the delays in funds from the European Union, a donor to AU.

Each soldier is entitled a monthly allowance of 1,028 U.S. dollars while their government deducts 200 dollars for administration costs.

Ankunda however dismissed fears that the payment delays would lower the morale of their soldiers in Somalia.

“There is no crisis. We are in Somalia for a mission to help our brothers and sisters,” he said.

Uganda contributes the bulk of the AU Peacekeeping Mission in Somalia with at least 6,000 troops.

The peacekeeping force has been battling Islamist group Al-Shabaab, along with the Somali army, since 2007.

It has driven the militants to rural areas in southern Somalia, but the group is still able to stage periodic attacks.