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Region Wants Continent's Role in Stabilizing Somalia

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Regional heads of state still want other African countries to contribute to the stabilization effort in Somalia under AMISOM. So far, this role has been played by states under the regional grouping of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) as well as Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

AMISOM is presently comprised of 6,000 Ugandan troops, 5,000 from Burundi, 4,000 Kenyans and 1,000 troops from Djibouti. There are also 850 troops from Sierra Leone, with police units from Nigeria and Uganda.

Uganda, which was the first to deploy troops in the Horn of Africa nation in March 2007, has the biggest troop numbers in Somalia.

The heads of state and government of the troop-contributing countries under AMISOM as well as Ethiopia and Somalia held a summit at Speke Resort Munyonyo between 1st and 4th August.

The summit chaired by President Yoweri Kaguta aimed to harmonize the approach by the stakeholders in building a peaceful Somalia.

Also, in attendance was Ethiopian Premier Hailemariam Desalegn, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Djibouti defence minister Hassan Darar Houfaneh.

Others included Gabriel Nizigama the Burundian minister of public security and Ambassador Andrew Gbebay Bangali the AU Permanent Representative for Sierra Leone, and Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif the AU Special Representative for AMISOM.

The presidential summit was preceded by the meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers of Defence.

With the Al-shabaab defeated, the challenge is now on the Federal Government of Somalia's ability to establish effective governance structures in the liberated territory. Importantly, the summit stressed the need for a regional political process to support Somalia to secure Kismayo seaport and airport. Somalia's leaders have accused the Kenyan troops based in Kismayo of meddling in Somalia's internal affairs, handpicking local leaders and engaging in the banned charcoal trade, which is a violation of the UN Security Council resolution.

But following the summit, Kismayo seaport and airport will be handed over to the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS).

Also, Kismayo, the regional leaders decided, is going to be boosted by a multinational force of Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF) and the Somali National Army, to operate alongside the Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF).

The leaders recognised that the Somali Federal Government should take the lead in promoting reconciliation, establishing local administrations appointing local leaders in the regions and ensuring balanced participation.

Also, the Somalia National Security Forces will recruit educated Somalis as officer corps, while training of noncommissioned officers has been shifted to Jazeera in Somalia.

There is also a plan to integrate all militias into the national army except those associated with Al Shabaab. Also, a reconciliation conference is set to be organized, which the process is to begin to establish governance structures in liberated territories.

Also, the emerging concern is that AMISOM forces have reached their operational limits and are unable to conduct further expansion operations.

The leaders want the UN Security Council to support AMISOM and the Somalia National Security Forces to enable them reorganize, restructure, increase their forces and mobilize logistical support in order to undertake further stabilization operations.


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