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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More