The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN reports that the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is seeking new strategies to help bring peace and stability in the Horn of Africa which is beset with frequent terror attacks by Al-Shabaab.
African Union (AU) Special Representative for Somalia Francisco Madeira also called on the AU troops to step up measures to help the new government and its security forces to stamp its authority in areas already liberated by the AU troops.
“We have achieved a lot in the past ten years; we are keeping the government in place; nobody can question that. We are keeping the regional governments in place.
“We supported the two elections, the latest one, we secured that election; and the president was elected in a very consensual way; we did all these things,” Madeira said in a statement issued in Nairobi on Friday.
The AU envoy who was addressing a high-level meeting of AU officials, said the current military onslaught against the militants may not achieve its desired goals, of delivering sustainable stability in the Horn of Africa.
The two-day meeting in the outskirts of Kenya’s capital Nairobi, is taking stock of the Mission’s performance within that period and charting the next way forward.
“The way we handled it militarily is that we would go there, flash out Al-Shabaab and protect the government. We then started training Somalis to take over.
“We were to liberate Mogadishu. We felt that we could do it and the Somalia National Army would come in later,” he added.
The AU mission has been in the Horn of Africa for a decade.
The meeting is part of events that culminate in May, to mark ten years of the Mission’s presence in Somalia.
Madeira said the Somalia security forces in their current state cannot adequately exercise authority on areas liberated by AMISOM.
He said SNA has its inadequacies and has not been able to take full charge of Somalia’s security, as it should.
“Those who should be fighting expect us to protect them,” he said, adding that AMISOM was fighting Al-Shabaab and protecting the Somalia government, at the same time.
“It’s time we made it known that AMISOM is not going to stay forever,” he noted, suggesting the key issue is to form a full functional national Army.
Others, he said, are have government exercise authority and address the problems facing the population such as historical clan rivalry, land ownership and sharing, power sharing, and reasons that attract the youth to the Al-Shabaab.
“We have to form the army, we have to help the government to exercise its authority all throughout the country and we have to have the government address the real problems that are dividing the people of Somalia,” said Madeira who is also the head of Amisom.
He urged donors to stay with Somalia at this critical hour, when the country has a promising and forward-looking federal government.
The AU envoy said AMISOM requires more funds to engage in a comprehensive approach to peace, which involves not just military response, but also mediation, negotiation and engaging an all-inclusive mechanism to conflict resolution.