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

Beloved Lion Killing Sparks Virtual, Real Life Outrage

Twitter, as usual, was epicenter for anger directed at Palmer, with some questioning his manhood, calling for him to be released into the wild More

Video Booming London Property Market a Haven for Dirty Money

Billions of dollars from proceeds of crime, especially from Russia, being laundered through London property market, according to anti-corruption activists More

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

One former Scout leader thinks organization will move past political, social debate, get back to its primary focus of turning boys into good citizens More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs