Dozens of Ugandan troops to be withdrawn from Somalia duty

Uganda's military says it has begun withdrawing dozens of its troops from peacekeeping duty in Somalia.

Lt. Col. Deo Akiiki, deputy spokesman for the Ugandan military, said Thursday that 281 troops will leave Somalia by Dec. 31.

Akiiki said that under an agreement between the African Union and the U.N. Security Council the number of all African peacekeepers in Somalia will be reduced by 1,000 before the end of 2017.

Uganda has over 6,000 troops deployed in Somalia as part of the multi-national African Union force. Other African countries such as Burundi and Kenya also contribute to the regional force.

The Western-backed deployments have helped to push Islamic extremists out of Somalia's capital and other centers, even though the rebels still make frequent bombing attacks targeting public places.