Information has filtered out of Somalia about allegations of “widespread wildlife theft” allegedly undertaken by military helicopters flying off warships engaged in anti- piracy operations around the Horn of Africa.
Several such reports were availed to this correspondent, but could not be independently verified. One of the reports spoke of helicopters flying with “nets full of deer” dangling below the crafts, and also of “spraying the animals which killed livestock.”
In the absence of a central government authority, which literally ceased after the breakdown of government and the subsequent upheavals in Somalia since 1991, it is difficult to assess the substance of such allegations, nor verify them, as “self-styled” authorities in Somalia have often used diversionary and misleading tactics and statements to deflect their own alleged complicity with pirates and Islamic militant militias.
Meanwhile, it was also learned that Uganda has appealed the United Nations and African Union to revise the mandate of its peace-keeping force in Somalia, which is presently restricted the “defensive actions,” while the operational needs of the troops require the ability to enter into engagements in the field without first being fired upon.
Uganda has lost troops and police officers in both Somalia and Darfur where the country has contributed manpower to the respective missions.