News / Africa

    UN Envoy Urges More Security Support for Somali Government

    The United Nations envoy for Somalia, Nicholas Kay (R), is welcomed by Somalia's Information Minister Abdullahi Ilmoge at the airport in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, June 2013.
    The United Nations envoy for Somalia, Nicholas Kay (R), is welcomed by Somalia's Information Minister Abdullahi Ilmoge at the airport in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, June 2013.
    Lisa Schlein
    A senior United Nations official says Somalia has the best chance in a generation to achieve peace and eventual prosperity, despite continued activity by al-Shabab, which claimed responsibility for the deadly attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. The official warns failure to support Somalia’s government would have serious regional and international consequences.

    The special representative of the U.N. secretary-general for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, said Somalia faces huge challenges. He said there are many grounds for optimism, though, that the internationally recognized government in Somalia will be able to unify and lead the country toward stability.

    Still, Kay warns none of the progress being made will last if security is not achieved. He said controlling and defeating al-Shabab is key to this.

    “The Westgate attacks show that the threat from al-Shabab is international. We have seen it before in Kampala and I fear we could see it again elsewhere, too. The ideology and the terrorist intent respect no borders,” he said.

    Kay has been the head of the U.N. Assistance Mission to Somalia, also known as AMISOM, for three months. He noted that the African Union is very close to achieving the 17,731 troops mandated for the mission. He said, though, the military effort is still under-resourced.

    More hardware needed

    For example, he said, AMISOM does not have a single helicopter for a campaign in a country the size of Afghanistan. He said what also is needed are armored vehicles and possibly a surge in the number of troops.

    Kay said that to secure Somalia's future, the international community must increase funding for both AMISOM and Somalia's national security forces. He said he will go to New York later this week to push for this.

    “I do believe that the small, extra investment in Somalia has to be seen as being very small in terms of what the international community has spent elsewhere - Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali. The amount of money that we are talking about required for extra effort in Somalia is extremely small. The cost of that would be relatively cheap, however, the price of walking away or failure in Somalia would be very expensive,” he said.

    The U.N. envoy said AMISOM currently receives about $520 million a year from the United Nations for logistical support and the European Union contributes a monthly stipend of 16 million euros.  

    Kay said he does not believe Kenya will withdraw its troops from AMISOM. If anything, he said al-Shabab’s attack against the Nairobi shopping mall probably will strengthen the resolve of Kenya and other participating countries to clear Somalia of the rebels.

    He estimated that al-Shabab maintains about 5,000 fighters in Somalia. He said many of them are not committed ideologues. Rather, they are young people who have joined because they have few other options or may be harboring local grievances.

    Kay said some of al-Shabab’s leadership is splintered and this provides an opening to woo the foot soldiers away from the militant group. He said Somalia's government hopes to re-integrate many of these people into their communities through a national disarmament and demobilization program.  

    If this works, the U.N. envoy said, it would deprive al-Shabab of some rank-and-file members.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora