The African Union once again pledged to send more troops to Somalia adding onto the 4,300 force in Mogadishu. For the last two years African countries except for Uganda and Burundi have been silent despite pledging to contribute troops for the peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

Whether the countries will finally meet the pledge reiterated at the AU summit that ended at the weekend in Sirte Libya is what will be awaited. But more important the leaders agreed to amend the current AMISOM mandate that prevents peacekeepers from attacking the insurgents except for in self-defence.

Under the new mandate which is yet to be fully explained, the AU troops will be allowed to “fight along government soldiers” according to Somalia’s Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke.

AU troops in Somalia

The question is will this new mandate AU troops more of targets by Al Shabab? And will this mandate further complicate the situation in Somalia?

And are African countries prepared to pay the price – both in money and life- as the new mandate comes into force?