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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid