Nairobi, Kenya African military experts Thursday were devising a plan for sending a peacekeeping force to Somalia, where fundamentalist Islamists appear to be taking more control of the country from the weakened government, officials said.
The plan - which calls for as many as 3,500 peacekeepers by October - hinges on whether the internationally recognized transitional government and the Islamic courts group that controls the country's south can ease political tensions, officials said.
Military officials are meeting under the auspices of the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development, which mediated peace talks that led to the formation of the transitional government two years ago.
Somalia has not had a national army or police since warlords overthrew longtime dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 and then turned on each other, pulling the country into anarchy.
In June, Islamic militiamen took over the capital of Mogadishu and then seized control of much of southern Somalia.