News / Africa

AU: Somalia's al-Shabab Being 'Systematically Destroyed'

Kenyan army soldiers sit in their armored vehicles. The Kenyan military says it's getting ready to push forward with its offensive against the al-Shabab insurgents, December 14, 2011.
Kenyan army soldiers sit in their armored vehicles. The Kenyan military says it's getting ready to push forward with its offensive against the al-Shabab insurgents, December 14, 2011.

Africa's top security official says the allied military offensive currently underway in Somalia is systematically destroying the al-Qaida linked militant group al-Shabab. The African Union is asking the United Nations to fund a final push aimed at crushing al-Shabab by August.

The African Union Thursday endorsed and sent to the U.N. Security Council a request to increase the strength of its AMISOM military mission in Somalia from 12,000 to 17,700 troops. The request includes funds for so-called “force multipliers”, such as helicopters and warships that would dramatically expand AMISOM's capabilities.

AU Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra says AMISOM needs the manpower and equipment to defeat Somalia's al-Shabab militants by August, when elections are scheduled to replace the U.N.-backed transitional government.

Al-Shabab controls large swaths of famine-stricken south and central Somalia. But a three-pronged offensive by Kenyan forces in the south, Ethiopian soldiers in the west, and AMISOM troops in Mogadishu to the north has the rebels on the run.

Lamamra says the militants' fighting capability has been sharply degraded.

"The Shabab as a military force is being systematically and steadily destroyed.  They have been defeated in Mogadishu, they are now being defeated in the Gedo and Juba regions, same happened in Beledweyn a week ago," Lamamra said.

Reports from the region indicate al-Shabab is mobilizing a large force of conscripts and local volunteers to resist what they call a “foreign invasion”. But Lamamra dismisses the reports, calling them part of a Shabab disinformation campaign.

"That is propaganda, that is the way al-Shabab is trying to maintain together their forces. The reports we are receiving is that there are a very unusual level of desertions in the ranks of al-Shabab," Lamamra said.

Lamamra's optimism about the military campaign was undermined, however, by concerns about political instability. Fistfights broke out on the floor of Somalia's parliament Wednesday during a controversial election to replace the speaker of the house, and President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed declared the election null and void.

An AU Peace and Security Council communique Thursday called on Somali lawmakers to remain focused on the need for a functioning government to bring an end to more than two decades as a failed state.

Kenya's AU Ambassador Monica Juma, who heads the Peace and Security Council for January, called for international pressure to persuade Somali politicians to work together.

"In any political electioneering process anywhere in the world we see all sorts of wrangling, so it's not surprising that we are beginning to see conflict in parliament, people trying to jostle and position themselves. I think the responsibility of the international community is that we put enough pressure that the political process is not derailed," Juma siad.

The U.N. Security Council is expected to take up the request for strengthening AMISOM as early as next Wednesday.

Diplomats attending Thursday's AU meetings say the prompt U.N. response reflects an understanding of the urgency of ending two decades of anarchy in Somalia.  

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited Mogadishu last month, the first visit by a U.N. chief to Somalia in nearly two decades.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid