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African Union pledges continuing support for Somalia

Friday, August 10, 2012

MOGADISHU (Xinhua) -- The African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia on Tuesday vowed its commitment to supporting the horn of African country’s peace process as the nation marks one year after the ouster of Al-Shabaab from Mogadishu.

Islamist group of Al-Shabaab abandoned their bases in the Somali capital Mogadishu in August last year after concerted offensive by joint Somali government and AU peacekeeping troops (AMISOM) based in the seaside city.

“As Somalia marks this important anniversary and prepares to end the Transition, the African Union Mission in Somalia will continue to work with the Somali authorities to create conditions conducive to the deepening of the national dialogue and reconciliation process,” Boubacar Diarra, AU commission envoy to Somalia said in a statement.

Hundreds rallied in the football stadium in the Somali capital Mogadishu Monday in celebration of the anniversary of withdrawal of the Islamist militant group of Al-Shabaab from Mogadishu.

The Somali capital has been enjoying relative peace and a resurgence of economic activities since last year’s ouster of Al- Shabaab fighters from their bases in the Somali capital Mogadishu.

The radical group has since lost key towns to the allied Somali government forces and AU peacekeeping troops. More than 18,000 African Union peacekeeping troops are currently deployed in Mogadishu and surrounding areas.

Somalia is currently organizing elections by parliament of a new president and speaker. The move follows after the country’s national constituent assembly endorsed a new constitution last week.

“(The) military gains and the liberation of new areas have contributed to the effective participation of Somalis from all walks of life to the political process currently underway,” AMISOM said in a statement.

Traditional Somali elders are currently in the process of selecting members of the upcoming parliament which will in turn chose a speaker and a new president before 20 August in accordance with the roadmap for moving the country out of the prolonged transitional period.

African Union troops in Somalia recovered
stolen relief food from Al- Shabaab camp
MOGADISHU (Xinhua) -- The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Friday said their troops managed to recover stolen food aid from a key training camp captured this week from Al-Shabaab militants.

“Over 500 sacks of stolen relief food were among items recovered from a terrorist training camp captured by Somali government forces supported by African Union troops,” the mission said in a statement.

Somali government forces backed by African Union peacekeeping troops on Wednesday captured Lanta-Buro village, the site of a major Al-Shabaab training camp.

AMISOM said the food, which was meant for humanitarian relief to the Somali people, had been confiscated by the Al Qaida- affiliated terror group, Al-Shabaab, who used it instead to feed militants at the camp in Lanta-Buro, 40 km west of Mogadishu.

The food has been returned to the local people, the AU mission said.

Islamist group have banned humanitarian agencies from operating in areas under their control in southern and central Somalia where the latest East Africa famine was centered.

AMISOM said the continuing operations would enable aid agencies to access areas where they had been previously barred by the extremists.

“We are fulfilling our mandate to support the Somali peace process and create a conducive environment for the safe delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid,” Andrew Gutti, AMISOM Force Commander said in a statement.

Officials accuse the radical group of imposing stricter version of the Islamist law or the Sharia in areas under their control. The group executes opponents and petty criminals while banning music and films and enforcing gender segregation in public venues.

Somali government forces and AU troops also recovered cache of weapons, which included machine guns and bomb making equipment from the Al-Shabaab base in Lanta Buro, AMISOM said.

The AU mission claimed to have killed 11 fighters and captured four others from Al-Shabaab, who have yet no comment on the taking of their camp.

The UN and AU authorized mission of over 17,000 troops from Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti and Kenya are currently deployed in Somalia to help Somali government defeat Al-Shabaab and spread its authority throughout the horn of Africa nation.

Somali government forces and AMISOM troops have lately wrestled a number of key towns outside the capital from Al-Shabaab fighters.


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