News / Africa

UN: Al-Shabab Weakened, Fragmented

In this photo released by the African Union-United Nations Information Support Team, Ugandan soldiers serving with AMISOM patrol through the deserted streets of Bakara Market in central Mogadishu, August 9, 2011 (file photo)
In this photo released by the African Union-United Nations Information Support Team, Ugandan soldiers serving with AMISOM patrol through the deserted streets of Bakara Market in central Mogadishu, August 9, 2011 (file photo)
Margaret Besheer

The U.N.'s top diplomat for Somalia said Wednesday that there are significant improvements in the security situation in Mogadishu after the surprise withdrawal on Saturday by al-Shabab insurgents from the city.  Augustine Mahiga said the fighters have been weakened by national and African Union forces, and that they have split up as they pull back from the Somali capital.

Ambassador Mahiga told reporters via a teleconference from Mogadishu that al-Shabab's so-called tactical retreat has fragmented the fighters into three groups.

"One column going southwards, another going westwards, and another going northwards - and they are still on the move," said Mahiga.  "This already weakens their consolidated strength."

Mahiga said the Islamist militants are also being starved of financial support from individual benefactors, mainly in the Middle East and Arabian Gulf region.  They also have lost vital revenue from the Bakaara market, which is the economic hub of the capital and had been under the insurgent's control until last week.

The U.N. envoy also credited Security Council sanctions targeting al-Shabab for taking a toll on their military and economic strength.

Mahiga said the territorial gains by the Transitional Federal Government forces, with support from African Union troops, known as AMISOM, translate to about 95 percent of the capital no longer in insurgent hands.

Earlier Wednesday, Mahiga briefed the U.N. Security Council via teleconference, saying that the improved security situation means the United Nations will be able to expand its presence in the country sooner than expected.

"We originally had anticipated that Mogadishu would be stabilized within roughly a year, but we are now revising our planning to focus on the immediate," added Mahiga.  "We are now actively planning for an expanded U.N. presence inside Somalia, rather than a 'light footprint' we had envisaged."

Mahiga told journalists that by year's end he hopes to have 24 staff members in Mogadishu and expanded staffs in Puntland and Somaliland.  Mahiga has asked the Security Council to authorize a force of 300 troops to guard U.N. personnel and other agencies in the capital.

Next month, on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly annual debate, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to convene a ministerial meeting on Somalia's political situation.  Mahiga said Britain, Italy and Uganda requested the high-level meeting.

Although Somalia's security situation might be at a positive turning point, the humanitarian situation in Somalia is becoming more dire.

The U.N.'s Deputy Humanitarian chief Catherine Bragg told the Security Council that 3.7 million Somalis are in crisis due to the severe drought and famine.  She said children are in particular need, with more than 1.25 million children across southern Somalia in urgent need of life-saving assistance.

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