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AU mission discharges 439 IEDs in Somalia since 2017

Saturday May 18, 2024

The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) said on Friday that it has managed to discharge 439 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the East African country since 2017.

The United Nations Mine Action Service's (UNMAS) Chief of Mine Action in Somalia, Justin Smith, said successful cooperation between the Somali Security Forces (SSF), ATMIS, and the UN has prevented an estimated 1,756 potential casualties.

He said the UNMAS has, over the years, enabled the troops to detect and neutralize a significant number of IEDs planted by al-Shabab militants in various parts of the country. "In 2023 alone, ATMIS Search and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams found and cleared 74 percent of devices assessed as targeting ATMIS troops, preventing a potential 150 ATMIS casualties," Smith said at the closing of a three-day training held in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on countering IEDs used by illegal armed groups, including al-Shabab.

The UN-backed training, which brought together 80 officers from the SSF and ATMIS, aimed to enhance the operational efficiency of the SSF in dealing with IED risks in the federal member states of Somalia.

The comprehensive program covered various aspects of IED detection, disposal, and post-blast investigation techniques.

"This training will be pivotal in the actualization of the ATMIS mandate to degrade al-Shabab in support of the Somali-led peace and security process," said Kindu Gezu, the ATMIS military chief of staff.

Gezu emphasized the importance of continued vigilance in countering the threats posed by IEDs, which are the primary weapon of choice for al-Shabab in its asymmetric warfare.

During the training, participants also discussed Somalia's IED threats, the Somali National Army's threat assessment, and ongoing counter-IED operations.


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