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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Gunmen kill senior defence official in Somalia

By Hashi MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Armed gunmen on Sunday night killed a senior ministry of defence official and his bodyguard as they were walking home from a mosque in the restive Mogadishu, police confirmed on Monday.

A police officer said Abdullahi Mohamed Sheikh, a senior officer at the army command control headquarters in Mogadishu, and his bodyguard were shot dead by gunmen armed with pistols.

“Gen Mohamed and his bodyguard were shot dead by armed gunmen from behind. The two were walking home from a mosque after evening prayers,” said the police officer who declined to be identified.

The military official once served as deputy commander of logistics for the Somali army. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the killing.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Somalia, AU forces seek solution to improvised explosive devices

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somalia and the African Union peacekeeping mission (AMISOM) forces on Monday kicked off a three-day conference to review threats posed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and plan mitigating measures.

The conference, which also brought together representatives from the UN and the British forces discussed the increasing threats and dangers posed by IEDs in the Horn of Africa country.

“I expect actionable recommendations brought forward, so that guidance can be given to all sectors from the Force headquarters and the recommendations to the African Union’s Peace Support Operations Division for action,” Osman Noor Soubagleh, the AMISOM Force Commander, said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

The conference which is sponsored by the United Nations Mine Assistance Mission (UNMAS) is aimed at developing counter IED capability in Somalia.

Soubagleh noted that previous workshops held on IEDs, had led to increased awareness and knowledge, leading to a significant increase in discovered explosives and their safe disposal.

Participants at the symposium will share knowledge and information on IEDs to help understand the scope of the threat.

Discussions will focus on how to effectively control the widespread use of such explosives by terror organizations such as Al-Shabaab.

The Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson (SRCC) for Somalia Francisco Madeira urged international partners to continue support to AMISOM and the SNA to enable them to effectively mitigate the dangers posed by IEDs on civilians and security forces in Somalia.

“To reduce the threat of IEDs, a combination of education, training, good reporting, exchange of information, degrading the network of the terrorists and investment in equipment to defeat the IEDs is required,” said Madeira.

“It is only then that AMISOM and Somali National Security Forces (SNSF) can undertake the necessary stabilization operations that Somalia needs, to develop a stable and secure state,” he added.

The Director of Mission Support at the United Nations Support Office in Somalia Amadu Kamara said the convention would contribute to the development of effective IED mitigation strategies, as part of the wider comprehensive approach to security in south central Somalia.

Allan McDonald, the Director of UNMAS reiterated the importance of passing on the knowledge gained at the conference to the troops on the front line and most especially to the Somali security forces, in line with efforts to support Somali led operations, ahead of the planned drawdown of AU forces.

The Commander of the British Forces, Colonel John Wakelin noted that the fight against IEDs required a multi-pronged response, to deal effectively with the challenge.

“There is no silver bullet, there is no magic bullet, there is no one solution to solving this IED challenge. There is no one bit of funding, there is no one technique or tactic that is going to fix this. It is a blend,” Wakelin said.

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AU helps in preventing child soldiers in Somalia

By Abdi MOGADISHU (Xinhua) -- The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said Wednesday it has trained 60 officers from the Somali security forces in the prevention of recruitment and use of child soldiers.

Francisco Caetano Madeira, the Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson (SRCC) for Somalia, noted that the use of child soldiers in conflict was widespread in Somalia and expressed the need to establish the exact numbers of children fighting wars in the country.

“It’s difficult to know exactly how many underage children are involved in this battle. We have to say it’s widespread, particularly within the Al-Shabaab ranks,” Madeira said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

The two-week training drew participants from the Somali military, police and intelligence services. Representatives of non-governmental organizations, federal and regional level member states also participated in the training which ended on Wednesday.

“We should spare these children from being recruited into radicalism, from being recruited into committing acts of violence against their own people, against their own country and against their own neighbors,” Madeira said.

The training focused on the identification of child soldiers, the prevention of their recruitment, their rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

Simon Mulongo, Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) for Somalia, said the training would equip Somali national security forces with skills and knowledge to effectively contain the problem.

British Ambassador to Somalia David Concar attributed the widespread recruitment of child soldiers in Somalia to violent extremism propagated by the Al-Shabaab militant group.

“It does a huge harm to communities and it’s holding back the cause of peace in this part of Africa,” Concar noted.

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China pledges to support Somalia’s development

UNITED NATIONS Somalia (Xinhua) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire on Thursday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, pledging China’s support for Somalia’s development.

China and Somalia enjoy a long history of friendship, Wang said, adding that China was one of the countries that first recognized Somalia’s independence and Somalia was the first country in East Africa to establish diplomatic relations with China.

China has always supported Somalia in preserving its national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, and supports peace and reconstruction in the country, he said.

With authorization of related UN resolutions, China has deployed its navy fleet to carry out escort missions in the waters off Somalia, which has contributed to maintaining security there, he added.

China supports the Somali government in leading its people to embark on the path of peaceful development soon, Wang said.

China is willing to cooperate with Somalia in various fields and help Somalia preserve peace, develop its economy and improve its people’s livelihood so as to continuously strengthen its self-development skills, Wang added.

Khaire, for his part, said the Somali people always remember China’s support and help for Somalia’s independence and development.

Somalia highly values China’s international status and its important role in promoting Africa’s development, Khaire said.

Somalia supports the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and hopes that it will play a unique role in jointly building the Belt and Road, he added.

             

 

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