Published On: Fri, Aug 5th, 2016

AMISOM to enhance cooperation with SNA in war on Al-Shabaab

Troops drawn from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali National Army (SNA) will enhance their collaboration as part of wider plans to invigorate the fight against the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab militants.

AMISOM Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Osman Soubagleh, at a meeting attended by the SNA Chief of Defence Forces, Maj. Gen. Mohamed Aden Ahmed, and the Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) for Somalia, Lydia Wanyoto, reiterated the need for greater co-operation between the two forces in the fight against Al-Shabaab.

“Everything that we do, as we develop and implement our concepts for 2016 and 2017, we must work jointly with the Somali National Army as directed by those above us. If we do not assist in developing the Somali National Army, if we do not work together and defeat Al-Shabaab, and if we do not effectively handover security of Somalia to Somali security forces, then we will have failed in achieving our mandate,” Lt. Gen. Soubagleh cautioned.

Lt. Gen. Soubagleh made the remarks, yesterday, at a joint conference that brought together top AMISOM and SNA army commanders. The objective of the conference, held in Somali capital, Mogadishu, was aimed at charting the way forward in securing Somalia.

The Force Commander reiterated that enhancement of cooperation between the two forces was in line with the UN Council Resolution and a recent directive by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira.

Apart from the fight against terror, Lt. Gen. Soubagleh stressed the need to tackle vices such as illegal checkpoints, illicit taxation, the use of child soldiers and sexual exploitation and abuse.

The meeting also reviewed the recent Concept of Operations (CONOPS), discussed the Military Operations Co-ordination Committee (MOCC) and received updates from the SNA commanders from the regional states.

Speaking at the same function, the DSRCC thanked the military commanders for holding the joint conference, adding that it reflected the way AMISOM and SNA intended to move forward with regard to operations, securing and stabilizing Somalia.

“The outcome of this particular joint meeting between AMISOM and the Somali National Army is timely. It is also a significant gesture of the way we want to do our work here in Somalia and the commitment on the steps ahead,” Wanyoto observed, noting there was need to adopt a non-military campaign, alongside the military option to stifle recruitment of youths into Al-Shabaab. The DSRCC also stressed that enhanced cooperation was critical in securing the upcoming elections. Somalia intends to hold indirect elections before the end of the year.

The SNA Chief of Defence Forces also reiterated the need for greater co-operation, citing what needs to be done to transform the SNA into a robust army, capable of executing its mandate.

“I request that all of us the Somali National Army, AMISOM and the donor countries work together in order to fulfill the mission ahead. I assure you that, if we do work together we will succeed,” Maj. Gen. Ahmed said.

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