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Problematical security situation within Somalia still remains fluid | Coastweek

JOWHAR Somalia -- Ahmed Meyre Makaran [fourth from left], Governor of Middle Shabelle region, cuts a tape to kickstart rehabilitation of a road that links Jowhar Airport to Jowhar town in HirShabelle State, Somalia. Military personnel [right], serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), operate road maintenance equipment on Jowhar road. AMISOM PHOTOS

Problematical security situation within Somalia still
remains fluid and often erratic report African Union

by Habtamu Worku ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) on Monday said security situations remain fluid and unpredictable in Somalia.

The statement was made by the AU Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, while presenting the progress report on the current security situations in Somalia, with particular emphasis given to ongoing security operations undertaken by the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

"Al-Shabab continues to maintain its presence in South Central Somalia, with sustained use of improvised explosive devices and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, under vehicle improvised explosive devices, ambushes along major supply routes, and other asymmetric tactics, including mortar attacks, suicide bombings, probing attacks and targeted assassinations," the AU’s progress report issued on Monday read.

Chairperson of the 55-member pan African bloc also stressed that "the overall security situation in Somalia remains fluid and unpredictable, particularly with the increasing use of women by al-Shabab, as recently witnessed in the attack on the Banadir Regional Administration’s Office in Mogadishu."

"As al-Shabab continues to pose serious threats to security and stability across Somalia, AMISOM, with support of the international community, will need to expedite its force generation and training of the Somali Security Forces (SSF) to engage in joint operations with AMISOM to continue degrading al-Shabab’s capabilities," the AU said.

The AU also said that the re-emergence of the pro-Islamic State factions in Somalia (IS-Somalia) also poses a new challenge to the ongoing peace process in Somalia, as well as the joint efforts of AMISOM and the federal government of Somalia.

"Despite the efforts of AMISOM and the international community to degrade al-Shabab and other armed opposition groups, al-Shabab remains a serious threat to security and stability across Somalia," the AU Commission Chairperson’s progress report read.

"This is as a result of al-Shabab’s capacity to continue its recruitment, training, and deployment of fighters, both local and foreign, as well as its ability to raise considerable revenue, through extortion, Zhakat collection and imposed levies on businesses across South Central Somalia," the report added.

According to Faki, the al-Shabab "still has the capacity to operate in unrecovered areas and within population centers where it plans and launches asymmetric attacks against AMISOM and Somali Security Forces (SSF), key government officials and installations, as well as civilians."

The AU also expressed its concern regarding al-Shabab and other armed opposition groups’ continued threat to security and stability in the Horn of Africa country. It also reiterated AMISOM’s continued resolve in the fight against the peace and security perils in Somalia.

"The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) continues to conduct defensive and offensive operations, including targeted operations and combat patrols to deter al-Shabab actions and to protect civilians," Faki affirmed in his periodic progress report.

The pan African bloc also affirmed that its peacekeeping mission to the troubled Horn of African nation "will continue to protect population centers in its operational areas and provide airport and seaport security as well as convoy escorts to ensure safe movement of people and goods, distribution of humanitarian assistance, and enabling the federal government of Somalia as well as federal member states to facilitate governance initiatives and support to the population."

The AU Commission Chairperson’s latest progress report on the overall security situations in Somalia, which described Somalia’s security situations to remain "fluid and unpredictable," was revealed just weeks after two deadly car bombing and suicide attack incidents that killed dozens and injured many others.

Amid continued attacks by militants loyal to al-Shabab and other forces, the joint Somali National Army (SNA) and AMISOM forces have also intensified operations against militants in central and southern Somalia, even though the al-Shabab still holds sway in rural areas in the regions, conducting ambushes and planting landmines.

Al-Shabab, which is fighting the Western-backed government, has been driven out of major strongholds in Somalia in recent years in a joint offensive by AMISOM and local forces.

The group, however, still stages guerrilla-style assaults and bomb attacks attempting to drive out AU troops from Somalia and impose its harsh version of Islamic law across the Horn of Africa nation.


Somalia and African Union begin audit of
firms operating in airport to boost security

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The African Union mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the government has started a physical audit of companies and organizations operating within the Aden Abdulle International Airport protected area to enhance security.

The audit, targeting firms and organizations contracted by the UN and AMISOM, is aimed at ensuring the private entities operate within the laws of the country, said Dahir Salat, audit team leader who is also the senior operations advisor to the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

"The Somali government is conducting the audit for accountability and transparency purposes and to make sure that every company is operating within the laws of the country," Salat said according to a statement issued by the AU mission in Mogadishu.

Salat said the audit exercise will be conducted every three months to ensure the government keeps an up-to-date database of all entities operating within the airport’s protected area also referred to as the green zone.

The inspection involves verification of land lease agreements, tax records, vehicles owned, number of workers and waste disposal mechanisms among others.

"Our objectives are simply to get the list and number of companies that are (operating) here and to make sure that every company (operates) within the framework of the regulations and the laws of this country," he added.


African Union says reduced community resilience
aggravates dire humanitarian situation in Somalia

by Shiferaw Tadesse ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The communities’ reduced level of resilience is contributing to the already dire and challenging humanitarian situation in different parts of Somalia, the African Union (AU) said on Monday.

The 55-member pan African bloc, in its latest progress report issued on Monday, mainly attributed the current challenges in the provision of humanitarian services in parts of Somalia due to communities’ reduced resilience, as well as the exclusion and discrimination of socially marginalized groups.

"The humanitarian situation in parts of Somalia remains dire and most challenging, due to reduced resilience of communities, triggered displacement and impeded access to basic services and humanitarian access to those in need," said the progress report issued on Monday.

The report also noted that "exclusion and discrimination of socially marginalized groups contributed to high levels of acute humanitarian challenges and lack of protection among some of the most vulnerable people."

"Disease outbreaks such as Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD), cholera and measles have contributed to preventable deaths across the country," the report added.

The AU also stressed that its peacekeeping mission AMISOM has created the necessary security conditions for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and contributed to the development of an effective approach to the protection of civilians.

The establishment of civilian sector teams under AMISOM is also said to considerably facilitate the needed increased engagement and access to the most vulnerable people in parts of Somalia, it was noted.

Enhanced engagement with humanitarian agencies and relevant stakeholders and providing lifesaving assistance to the people in areas that were recovered from the terrorist group al-Shabab, particularly in areas without humanitarian actors, also said to be another prime target of AMISOM.

The AU also said that an increased coordination among AU, the United Nations, Somali federal government, as well as other international partners have "significantly contributed to the implementation of joint initiatives that have aligned strategic and operational efforts in the promotion of peace, security, stability and reconciliation in Somalia."

"Such coordination needs to be sustained and further enhanced to guarantee the achievement of the Somalia Transition Plan (STP) and the gradual handover of security responsibility to Somali Security Forces (SSFs)," the AU stressed.

Last month, the UN had also stressed that humanitarian operation in Somalia remains underfunded with the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan having received only 38 percent of its requirements by mid-year, forcing aid agencies to limit or reduce relief efforts at a time when scale-up is critical.

According to the UN, severe climatic conditions, combined with other persistent drivers of the humanitarian crisis, mainly armed conflict, continued displacement and a spike in evictions of internally displaced people are again pushing Somalia towards a major humanitarian crisis, two years after the prolonged 2016/2017 drought destroyed livelihoods and displaced almost one million Somalis.

The AU’s urgent call to tackle the current dire humanitarian situations in Somalia also followed the recent joint emergency humanitarian appeal by the Somali government and aid agencies to help address the impact of the current humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa country.

On July 12, the Somali government and the international aid community said they are jointly implementing a Drought Impact Response Plan, which will provide "critical life-saving assistance" to some 4.5 million Somalis from late July to December this year at a cost of 686 million U.S. dollars.

African Union to enhance joint military operations against al-Shabab

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali security forces will intensify joint military operations to liberate regions still under the control of al-Shabab, the AU senior envoy said on Monday evening.

Francisco Madeira, head of AMISOM, stressed the importance of troop generation in securing Somalia, saying the country needs trained forces capable of holding liberated territories.

"Today, partners are helping Somalia generate trained and equipped forces.

"It is these forces that, with our support, are now holding liberated towns," Madeira said in a statement issued by the AU mission.

The AU envoy who spoke at the Eid al-Adha dinner hosted for the Muslim community in Mogadishu, said the resolve by AMISOM and the Somali government to defeat al-Shabab and bring back peace and security remains unshaken.

"As we celebrate Eid al-Adha, let me congratulate the Force Commander and the Sector One Commander for the important achievements they have made, the recent one being the liberation of Awdheegle," he said.

Madeira added that the strong working relations between AMISOM and the Somali security forces had made the liberation of bridge towns possible.

Awdheegle is the fourth bridge town to be liberated in the Lower Shabelle region this year, from the al-Qaida allied terrorist group by Somali security forces with the support of AMISOM troops. Other towns are Sabiid, Bariire and Eel-Saliini.

The AU envoy praised the government for making troop generation a priority, saying Somali National Army battalions are the ones holding liberated territories in these four towns.

"The issue of troop generation to be able to hold on to the liberated towns was very important," Madeira said.

He added that AMISOM will continue pushing for the strengthening of the Somali security forces following the recent success of the joint military operations.

Madeira said conducting joint military operations, protecting population centers and clearing main supply routes are key activities that AMISOM is undertaking as part of the implementation of the Somali Transition Plan, which has the main objective of transferring security responsibility to the Somali security forces.

Somalia and United States Army resolve
to seize regions under al-Shabab control

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somalia and U.S. army have resolved to put pressure on al-Shabab fighters to liberate the Somali people in remaining militants’ held areas.

Stephen Townsend, commander of U.S. Africa Command (Africom) who held talks with Hassan Ali Khaire, the prime minister of Somalia in Mogadishu on Wednesday, reinforced the U.S. army’s commitment to mutual security interests in the region.

"Evil doers are out there.

"They are looking for an opening and an opportunity to do harm.

"If they could attack U.S. interests and the homeland they would.

"We can’t give them an opening.

"We must deny them that opportunity," Townsend said in a statement issued on Wednesday night after his visit to Somalia.

While in Somalia, Townsend met with the U.S. units responsible for training the Danab, a specially trained Somali military force engaged in the fight against al-Shabab and ISIS-Somalia.

"Along with Somalia and other international partners, we will apply continued pressure on violent extremist organizations.

"This pressure creates conditions and opportunity for further political and economic development," Townsend said.

He noted the importance of confronting violent extremist organizations in East Africa, noting that while terror groups in Africa currently lack the capability, they possess the will and desire to attack the U.S. homeland and interests.

The Africom commander visited Somalia as part of his first trip to the African continent since taking command on July 26.

He said the visit offered an opportunity to assess the situation in Somalia while reinforcing Africom’s commitment to mutual security interests in the region.

Charles Bergman, Africom’s integrator for developing security in Somalia, said the unique level of cooperation between the multiple international efforts in Somalia has led to more effective government security forces and their ability to conduct offensive operations.

"This demonstrates to the Somali people that their national Army’s capabilities to secure Somalia are growing," Bergman added.



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