News / Africa

UN Security Council Sets Stage for Lifting Somalia Arms Embargo

FILE - The United Nations Security CouncilFILE - The United Nations Security Council
x
FILE - The United Nations Security Council
FILE - The United Nations Security Council
Reuters
The U.N. Security Council is considering lifting an arms embargo on Somalia's government for one year so it can beef up its army to combat Islamist fighters, according to a draft resolution that is due to be voted on by the divided council on Wednesday.

The Somalia government has asked for the arms embargo to be lifted and the United States has been pushing the council to agree, but Britain and France have been wary of removing the ban in a country already awash with weapons, diplomats say.

The draft resolution, drawn up by Britain and obtained by Reuters, appears to propose a compromise: lifting the arms embargo for one year but keeping restrictions in place on heavy weapons such as surface to air missiles, howitzers and cannons.

The draft resolution says the arms embargo shall not apply to the deliveries of other "weapons or military equipment or the provision of advice, assistance or training, intended solely for the development of the security forces of the federal government of Somalia and to provide security for the Somali people."

It says that these weapons and equipment "may not be resold to, transferred to, or made available for use by, any individual or entity not in the service of the security forces of the federal government of Somalia."

The 15-member council imposed the arms embargo in 1992 to cut the flow of arms to feuding warlords, who a year earlier ousted dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and plunged Somalia into civil war. Somalia held its first national vote since 1991 last year to elect a president and prime minister.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier this month suggested the Security Council consider lifting the arms embargo to help rebuild Somalia's forces and consolidate military gains against al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants.

But some council members are concerned about the security risks involved with removing the arms embargo and one council diplomats said the proposed move "sends shivers down the spine."

Militant Infiltration

The Security Council's Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, an independent panel that reports on compliance with U.N. sanctions, have warned that the Islamist militants in Somalia are receiving weapons from distribution networks linked to Yemen and Iran, diplomats have told Reuters.

A U.N. diplomat also said the U.N. monitors had reported that some al-Shabab militants had infiltrated units of the Somali security forces.

The council is scheduled to vote on the draft resolution on Wednesday before the mandate of the 17,600-strong AU peacekeeping force, known as AMISOM, expires on Thursday. The resolution would renew AU peacekeeping force for one year and reconfigure the U.N. mission in the Horn of Africa country.

AU troops from Uganda, Burundi, Kenya and Ethiopia are battling al Shabaab militants on several fronts in Somalia and have forced them to abandon significant territory in southern and central areas of the country.

The militants, who affiliated themselves with al-Qaida in February last year, launched their campaign against the government in early 2007, seeking to impose sharia, or strict Islamic law, on the entire country.

The Somali government believes lifting the embargo will help it strengthen its poorly-equipped, ill-disciplined military - more a group of rival militias than a cohesive fighting force loyal to a single president.

The draft resolution requires that the Somalia government or the country delivering assistance notify the Security Council "at least five days in advance of any deliveries of weapons and military equipment ... providing details of such deliveries and assistance and the specific place of delivery in Somalia."

It also asks the government to report regularly on the structure of the security forces and the infrastructure and procedures in place to ensure safe storage, maintenance and distribution of military equipment.

The removal of the arms embargo would be reviewed in one year, according to the draft resolution.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Arkansas, North Carolina have approved similar laws that gay-marriage opponents say help maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
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.

VOA Blogs

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