Published On: Fri, Nov 25th, 2016

AU, Somali military officers devise joint plan to combat Al-Shabaab

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) military officers and senior commanders from the Somali National Army (SNA) have agreed on a new plan for joint operations against Al-Shabaab.

The senior military officers who ended a three-day meeting in Mogadishu also agreed to undertake major military operations to liberate areas still under the control of the insurgents.

“The commanders will reconvene soon to finalize plans for joint operations,” the African Union said in a statement released in Mogadishu on Thursday.

The statement said major issues discussed in the three-day meeting included strengthening the SNA, in preparation for AMISOM’s exit from Somalia in 2018.

The exit strategy formulated by the Africa Union’s Peace and Security Council calls for the staggered withdrawal of 22,000 AMISOM troops, including Kenya’s, beginning in October 2018 and be completed by the end of 2020.

The troops were deployed to Somalia in 2007 to defend the government against the Al-Qaeda-affiliated insurgent group Al-Shabaab which has been terrorizing Somalis and East Africans across the region.

Omar Abdulle Alasow, the senior International Humanitarian Law/ Human Rights Advisor to AMISOM, said the pan African body’s mission has put in place mechanisms for preventing, mitigating and strengthening compliance of International Humanitarian Law, to reduce the risks of grave human rights violations by troops.

“It also has policies designed to investigate and take necessary disciplinary measures against erring uniformed personnel,” Alasow said.

SNA Deputy Chief of Defence Forces Maj. Gen. Ali Bashi Mohamed said the meeting had further strengthened cooperation between the join forces, in countering militant insurgency.

“We are going to plan and come up with a common operation, fighting side by side against Al-Shabaab,” he said.

“We agreed to work closely to flush out the enemy from the country. There has never been a better time for SNA and AMISOM to come together like now,” Bashi noted.

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