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AU calls for concerted efforts to counter use of explosive devices in Somalia

Sunday June 19, 2022

A security officer is seen at the scene of a large explosion near a check point in Mogadishu, Somalia, 28 December 2019. A source at a hospital said that the death toll has risen to at least 76 in what is believed to have been a car bombing. The explosion rocked an area near the junction called Ex-Control Afgoye, in a southwestern suburb of the capital Mogadishu. EPA/SAID YUSUF WARSAME

The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) has called for concerted efforts by all stakeholders and local communities to counter the threat posed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Diomede Ndegeya, ATMIS Force Commander said the threat posed by IEDs necessitates the mission and partners to come up with innovative counter-IED measures.

“To mitigate the IED threat will require the military actors involving the Somali authorities and working with communities, to strengthen governance, and support stabilization efforts,” he said in a statement issued on Thursday evening following the conclusion of a three-day conference in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

The conference attended by senior officials from ATMIS, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), and key stakeholders took stock of the current measures to counter IEDs in order to develop a comprehensive IED threat mitigation strategy.

Ndegeya said there was a need to evaluate the conduct of the mission’s activities and operations, with the view of finding solutions to the challenge posed by explosive devices.

He said that despite efforts by UNMAS to enhance the mission’s counter-IED capability through training, mentoring, and equipment support, IEDs continue to pose a significant threat.

“Our ability to come up with solutions and thereby enhance our counter-IED capability is critical to the advancement of the mission’s mandate,” Ndegeya said.

The conference was attended by Somali security forces, the European Union Training Mission in Somalia (EUTM Somalia), the UK-Mission Support Team (UK-MST) to ATMIS, and other partners.

UNMAS Head of Programme Unit, Simon Porter, called for the swift implementation of the recommendations and plans made at the conference to bolster the implementation of the mission’s mandate, given the tight timelines set out in the UN Security Council Resolution 2628 with regard to the transition period in Somalia.

UNMAS Chief of Mine Action Programme, Jean Guy Lavoie, noted that the conference was an ideal opportunity for the participants to come up with innovative solutions to the menace posed by IEDs in Somalia.

“It is about doing more, doing better, being more efficient, working together better, and also about delivering on our new mandate,” Lavoie said.

Some 501 civilians were killed or injured in Somalia in 2020 due to improvised explosive devices and explosive remnants of war while the number of casualties increased to 669 casualties in 2021, according to the UN.  


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