With the African Union’s AMISOM force in Somalia looking to grow considerably with the integration of the Kenyan invasion force, they also seem poised to make a territorial gain as the Ethiopian military is said to be planning to hand over a portion of the country they occupied to AU control.
The portion of the country is relatively small, but includes the key central town of Beledweyne, which the Ethiopian military occupied over the weekend. The town is near Ethiopia’s borders and has often fell during the intermittent Ethiopian invasion.
With the absorption of the Kenyan troops the AU force could become as large as 17,731 fighters, though this is still pending UN approval as much of the force is funded by the international community.
Despite the ever-growing size of the force, the AU still has no territory outside of Mogadishu, and it is unclear if they will be able to retain control over the region handed over by Ethiopia. Since Beledweyne has been occupied at least three times by Ethiopia and always fell within months to one insurgent faction or another, history is not on the AU’s side.