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

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora