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Canada reinforces African Union forces in Somalia

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Canada Foreign Minister John Baird in Brunei on July 1, 2013 (AFP)

Canada announced Tuesday funding to bolster African Union forces in Somalia, after a deadly mall attack in Nairobi by Shebab Islamists last month.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird pledged Can$5 million for enhancing counterterrorism efforts through the African Union mission in Somalia, as well as $1 million for other security and conflict resolution programs in the Horn of Africa.

The funds are in addition to Can$37 million already committed by Ottawa for Somalia, and $2.4 billion committed by the world.

At a joint press conference, Somalia's visiting Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Fawzia Yusuf Adam said her government in partnership with the African Union "is defeating" Shebab.

"El Shebab is on its last legs, they lost numbers, they lost morale, they lost ground, they're only in small pockets. We're not worried about them. We're in control of the situation, but we need a last push" with aid from the international community to strengthen its security forces, she said.

"We need to stand on our feet and defend our shores and defend our ground and finish el Shebab."

The four-day bloodbath at the upmarket Westgate shopping mall, which Kenyan forces brought to an end last Tuesday, left at least 67 people dead. The Kenyan Red Cross said Monday that 39 more were still missing.