Published On: Sat, Aug 6th, 2016

Top Military Commanders call for more international support for SNA

A five-day sector commanders conference yesterday agreed on key resolutions aimed at enhancing cooperation and efficiency in military operations targeting Al-Shabaab militants.

The resolutions read at the close of the conference are also aimed at building the capacity of the Somali National Army (SNA) and turning it into a professional and competent outfit, capable of handling Somalia’s security once the term of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) ends.

The conference recommended that AMISOM and SNA must engage with the United Nations at the early stages of planning to address logistical challenges, partners to expand the paying of stipends to SNA soldiers serving in all the sectors and that the payments be done in consultation with the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF). The commanders also proposed speeding up of lethal and non-lethal support to SNA to enable it operate effectively alongside AMISOM.

It was also agreed that a joint verification committee, comprising AMISOM and SNA, be constituted to verify the numbers and operational effectiveness of the 10,000-plus SNA soldiers as per the Guulwade plan and report its findings by the end of this month. The Guulwade Plan (Victory Plan) provides a roadmap for long-term development of the SNA.

The last day of the conference was attended by senior AMISOM and Federal Government officials, including the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira; the Deputy Prime Minister of Somalia, Mohamed Omar Arte; AMISOM Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Osman Soubagleh; SNA Chief of Defence Forces, Maj. Gen. Mohamed Aden Ahmed; the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Somalia, Raisedon Zenenga and international partners.

Speaking at the function, Ambassador Madeira welcomed the outcome of the conference which, he noted, was in line with the revised Concept of Operations (CONOPs).

The SRCC observed that the key recommendations would yield tangible results in the fight against Al-Shabaab and secure the forthcoming elections, if fully implemented. Ambassador Madeira called for more support for the SNA soldiers to enable them effectively carry out operations alongside AMISOM forces.

“By capacitating the SNA, we as AMISOM and members of the international community will be proving to the Somalis that we are committed to forming and strengthening the SNA,” the SRCC noted.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Mohamed Omar Arte, hailed the frank discussions on strengthening the SNA and expressed optimism that the outcome of the conference will help secure the forth coming elections and boost operations against Al-Shabaab.

“Only a strong partnership and relationship between the SNA and AMISOM will enhance operational effectiveness of both forces. I urge you to ensure that this coordination and cooperation is replicated at all levels. What is required now is increased proactive and aggressive implementation of operational plans,” Mr Arte said.

Lt. Gen. Soubagleh, the AMISOM Force Commander, noted that the meeting had been productive, saying the commanders had achieved a lot in the past few days.

“The Chief of Defence Forces of SNA has pledged to work with us and fight side by side with AMISOM and we also pledge the same against and enemy.”

Maj. Gen. Ahmed pledged to help implement the key recommendations of the conference but made an impassioned plea to the international community for more support to the SNA.

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