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AU says insufficient funding threatens peacekeeping in Somalia

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Lack of funding is threatening the operations of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), an African Union (AU) official said Thursday.

Francisco Madeira, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia and Head of AMISOM, said the inadequate funding threatened the operations of peacekeepers and the Somali security forces.

“Without funding, little can happen to move forward with certain undertakings already made on the security front,” he said during a media briefing in Nairobi.

Madeira said AMISOM needs support to conduct the last leg of military operations to recover territory that remains under the control of Al-Shabaab militants.

“We are planning elaborate offensive operations next year mainly in the Jubba valley, Gedo region and Middle Juba regions, areas that still harbor pockets of Al-Shabaab militants,” said Madeira.

He revealed that AMISOM has been unable to undertake military operations in the recent past due to limitations in personnel, logistics and others.

“We need urgent support to recover the territories that are currently under Al-Shabaab,” the envoy noted.

The Envoy observed that the Somali security forces need to be capacitated to take over the security responsibilities since the drawdown of AMISOM troops from Somalia entails the handover of some of the Forward Operating Bases in the sectors to the Somali National Army.

“A stable Somalia is critical for stability across the East African region and beyond. If we do not decisively address the threat of Al-Shabaab, they will continue to pose a danger to the whole world,” he warned.

A review of the AU Mission in Somalia that was carried out by the African Union and the UN, during the course of the year, recommended a gradual and phased reduction and re-organization of the AU Mission.

The UN Security Council Resolution 2372(2017) extended AMISOM’s mandate to 31 May 2018 and authorizes troop reduction, starting this December, as the Somali government progressively takes over AMISOM’s tasks.

1,000 peace keepers have already left Somalia while a similar number will leave by May next year.



Four Al-Shabaab militants surrender to Somali government

MOGADISHU, (Xinhua) -- Four Al-Shabaab militants including top commanders surrendered to the Somali government on Thursday, officials said.

Ugaas Hassan, the Information Minister for the Southwest State in Somalia, confirmed to Xinhua that the militants agreed to lay down arms and surrender to Somali National Army and Southwest State forces in Berdale town.

“Four Al-Shabaab fighters including deputy commander of the group in the Bay region surrendered to the officials of the Somalia National Army (SNA) and Southwest state in Somalia in Berdale town, these militants decided to denounce the wrong ideology of the terrorist group Al-Shabaab,” said Hassan.

The joint forces, including the SNA and African Union troops, have intensified military operations against Al-Shabaab militants in the recent past while some militants are either escaping or leaving from the group now.

“Military operations are going on in the region now, and we are welcoming anyone who is in the terrorist group to accept peace process,” Hassan said.

The latest development came against a backdrop of factional wars within the Al-Qaeda linked terrorist network that has intensified this year.


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