Saturday June 18, 2022
Top officials of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), and key stakeholders, have concluded a three-day conference to take stock of the current measures to counter Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), in order to develop a comprehensive IED threat mitigation strategy.In his remarks, Lt. Gen. Ndegeya, noted that there was 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.
The conference in Mogadishu, 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, was closed on Thursday by the ATMIS Force Commander, Lieutenant General Diomede Ndegeya.
He called for concerted efforts by all stakeholders, including local communities, to counter the threat posed by IEDs.
“To mitigate the IED threat will require the military actors involving the Somali authorities and working with communities, to strengthen governance, and support stabilisation efforts,” Lt. Gen. Ndegeya stated.
The Force Commander noted the threat posed by IEDs necessitates the mission and partners to come up with innovative counter-IED measures.
At the conference, it was noted 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,” Lt. Gen. Ndegeya stated at the opening on Tuesday.
On his part, 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.
“What is important in the coming weeks and months,” Mr. Porter said, “is that we take forward the recommendations and plans that have been made here and we look at how they are going to be operationalised and how they are going to be taken forward.”
He added, “We really don’t have a lot of time to sit back and think too hard.”
At the opening, 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,” Mr. Lavoie explained.
The Director-General in Somalia’s Ministry of Defence, Hassan Said Samantar, at the opening noted that Somalia is a country most affected by IEDs, and he lauded UNMAS for the support in countering the explosive devices.
“We are thankful for all the work that UNMAS has been doing in collaboration with all the institutions of Somalia,” the Director-General said.