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Change tack to secure troubled Somalia now

AMISOM troops arriving at Mogadishu Airprot (March, 2007)


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

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Hopes are high that Somalia will get the support it needs to defeat the militia groups controlling swathes of its countryside and some key towns, including a strip of its coastline nearly 250 miles long.

The Somali government controls Mogadishu and the country’s second city, Kismayo, after African Union and Kenyan troops helped flush out Al-Shabaab.

Last Saturday’s meeting of the African Union heads of state and governments in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, backed the call to boost by about a third, the number of troops in an African peacekeeping force in Somalia to reinforce a campaign against Islamist militants who attacked Westgate Mall in Nairobi last month.

The continental body’s Peace and Security Council said 6,235 soldiers and police should be added to theAMISOM peacekeeping force to raise its total strength to 23,966 uniformed personnel for a limited period of 18 to 24 months. The council endorsed recommendations to review the force but it still requires the approval of the United Nations Security Council.

Forced retreat

AMISOM is made up of troops mainly from Kenya,Uganda and Burundi. Ethiopia has sent in troops but they are not under AMISOM command. The AU Council “stressed the need for renewed efforts to downgrade the capabilities of Al-Shabaab in view of the continued threat it poses both within Somalia and in the region”.

Somalia is drawing up plans to retake the seaside town of Baraawe, where the US Navy Seals mounted a failed operation to capture Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir, one of  Al-Shabaab’s key members, last Saturday.

Source: Standard Digital

The members of Seal Team Six, the secretive US team that killed Osama bin Laden, were forced to retreat without knowing whether they had killed him or not after a firefight that lasted over an hour. Baraawe is vital for Al-Shabaab because it has got a port and many of its logistics operations are mounted from there.

A senior Somalia official admits that the only way to defeat the militia is either by stealth or by forcing it to fight a conventional war as it is known to guard itself well.


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