News / Africa

AU Drive Against al-Shabab Faces Somalia’s Rainy Season

AU Special Representative Mahamet Annadiff Saleh toured AMISOM's Mogadishu base when he arrived in Mogadishu in 2012.
AU Special Representative Mahamet Annadiff Saleh toured AMISOM's Mogadishu base when he arrived in Mogadishu in 2012.
As the UN-authorized African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) continues its military offensive against al-Shabab insurgents in central Somalia, the rainy season approaches. 

Ethiopian military forces joined the AMISOM force in January, bringing troop levels for the campaign to more than 22,000 peacekeepers. The enhanced force has expelled the jihadist rebels from an estimated 10 towns and villages in that region. 

African Union special representative to the Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Mahamet Annadiff Saleh was interviewed by Timothy Donangmaye of VOA’s French to Africa language service about what lies ahead. 

The interview was conducted Wednesday in French. Ambassador Saleh is from Chad and earlier was the AU’s permanent special representative to the European Union.
 
“We want to do as much as possible before the arrival of the rainy season,” Saleh said. “We are not talking about stopping the operations. Where possible, military operations are planned so as to be continued anyway. But we will take into account the realities on the ground.”
 
When Donangmaye asked Saleh about the remaining challenges facing AMISOM, the head of mission said they need helicopters to minimize al-Shabab’s capacities. “I think that even if the rainy season arrives, the helicopters will allows us to reach a number of targets that are quite difficult."
 
Towns stripped of infrastructure
 
Saleh described devastating conditions in the communities re-taken by AMISOM forces: destroyed water wells, dismantled schools.  “We found destroyed cities and villages, no infrastructure,” he said.
 
“So it is really a challenge to rebuild the cities and villages. It really poses the challenge of providing government services.”
 
The AMISOM head of mission said they will try to offer “a bit of relief to the population” but their primary task is to secure the region militarily so that others will be able to deliver much-needed humanitarian services.
 
Delicate transition to local governance
 
A transition to new governance in these communities is a delicate question, Saleh said. 

“The government told us that it is consulting with some parliamentarians to bring people, but we don’t really like that option since people of Mogadishu might not be accepted, or they could even create other problems. 

"These people need to be managed very carefully.
 
“The government has been pro-active,” Saleh said. “They sent some ministers into these areas and we work together with them to try to have the people choose interim leaders.
 
Saled described a semi-military administration that deals with bringing order to the newly liberated communities, “but the government is doing everything in consultations we supervise in order to bring in temporary administrators,” Saleh said.
 
He assured that AMISOM and the Federal Republic of Somalia have been collaborating on the re-establishment of governance and public services.
 
Conversion of young al-Shabab recruits
 
The risk of losing ground to al-Shabab is low, he said. “Our greatest success would  be that those many young people who have been brainwashed, who have been traumatized by al-Shabab may come to realize that it is a lost war.”
 
“We are mobilizing through the Somali press, with the Elders, and with senior clan leaders so they can actually appeal to young people to abandon al-Shabab…”

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid