AMISON is battling the Somali militant group Al-Shabab, which warned
over the weekend that it will step up its bombing campaign in the Somali
Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda, spokesman for AMISON, said the peacekeepers
need the additional troops and what he calls “force enablers,” such as
helicopters, maritime assets and engineers.
“We requested for an increment to at least 17,000 to deploy another
6,000 in other sectors of the country. We need more force enablers; we
need helicopters; we need maritime assets; we need engineers. All these
will be very, very crucial to help us launch phase two of the
operation,” he said.
Ankunda said AMISON welcomed the contribution of Kenyan troops in the
fight against Al-Shabab and was anxiously awaiting the passage of the
U.N. Security Council resolution.
“First of all, we welcome the Kenyan troops that were in the south.
What we need now is the United Nations Security Council resolution so
that they can transfer to the A.U. Mission. Now, the fact that they
will be deploying in the south, that means that they help us launch more
easily into Phase II, because Phase II we were supposed to take over
part of south Somalia, including key Al-Shabab cities like Kismayo,”
Al-Shabab warned over the weekend that it would step up its bombing campaign in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
Ankunda said it would take some time for AMISON to bring security to all of Somalia.
“It is not easy to ensure a 100 percent security for a country that
has been at war for all these years. Honestly speaking, once or twice
these guys will go through the net and you will get a bomb going off in
the wrong place. This is a country that is trying to recover from
conflict. Al-Shabab by now has spread in the population. So it’s going
to take a bit of time to completely wipe out this threat of improvised
explosive devices,” Ankunda said.
He said he expects AMISON to stay in Somalia even if the Somali Transitional Federal Government term expires some this year.
“I think, even if the transition ends, the A.U. mission will have to
continue because there are still a lot of things that we have to do,
including the transitional federal institutions, particularly the Somali
army and the national police force,” Ankunda said.