News / Africa

UN Urges More Military Force to Confront al-Shabab in Somalia

Alleged members of al-Shabab are blindfolded and guarded by soldiers of the Somali National Army (SNA) in Kismayo, southern Somalia, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012.Alleged members of al-Shabab are blindfolded and guarded by soldiers of the Somali National Army (SNA) in Kismayo, southern Somalia, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012.
x
Alleged members of al-Shabab are blindfolded and guarded by soldiers of the Somali National Army (SNA) in Kismayo, southern Somalia, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012.
Alleged members of al-Shabab are blindfolded and guarded by soldiers of the Somali National Army (SNA) in Kismayo, southern Somalia, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012.
Gabe Joselow
The top U.N. official for Somalia said more military force is needed to push Islamist militant group al-Shabab out of its remaining strongholds.  Such strongholds include the town of Barawe -- the scene of a U.S. Special Forces strike over the weekend.
 
U.N. Special Representative for Somalia Nick Kay said al-Shabab “poses a real and present threat” to peace-building efforts in Somalia.
 
Speaking to VOA in Mogadishu Monday, he noted the al-Qaida-linked group is not as strong as it was before being pushed out of the capital and other major cities, but said further military operations are still needed to remove the militants from other parts of the country.
 
“We can help the Somalis to improve in Mogadishu by better policing, better intelligence, better coordination," Kay said. "But essentially, I don’t think we will remove that threat until we actually deal with al-Shabab outside Mogadishu and to do that -- yeah, some of it is asymmetric, but some of it is still relatively conventional.”
 
The African Union-led peacekeeping force, AMISOM, was instrumental in loosening al-Shabab’s hold on major cities in 2011 and 2012.  But as allied Ethiopian forces start to pull out of Somalia, peacekeepers are finding they are stretched too thin to continue offensive operations.
 
Kay said U.N. Security Council members will likely discuss a temporary increase in the number of troops at a review of the AMISOM mission later this month.
 
One of the areas still under al-Shabab control is the coastal town of Barawe, south of the capital - the scene of a U.S. Special Forces operation over the weekend targeting a al-Shabab commander.
 
There has been no confirmation that the target, known by the name Ikrima, was apprehended or killed in the operation.
 
Kay said the U.N. did not know about the operation ahead of time, but said he supports the action.
 
“Clearly this is an area that is of strategic importance to al-Shabab, so certainly I support and welcome any effort that is made to remove al-Shabab from controlling that place," he said.  
 
The Somali National Army is also lacking capacity to take over security in towns freed from militants.
 
Government spokesman Abdirahman Omar Osman tells VOA the military needs airpower more than anything.
 
“You can imagine Somalia, which is the size of Afghanistan, we don’t have one helicopter, a gunship that can fight," Osman said. "And when these guys go to the remote areas, you can imagine, it’s easier for them to hide in these areas, so the best way to deal with this is through air operations, which we do not have that capacity.”
 
Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for last month's terrorist attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Kenya’s capital Nairobi -- demonstrating the group still has the capacity to strike beyond Somalia’s borders.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid