News / Africa

Somalia's Backers Pledge More Support to Defeat Militants

The main international backers of Somalia's government have pledged additional resources for the drive to defeat al-Qaida-linked militants trying to establish a beachhead in the Horn of Africa. The issue was discussed at a high-level meeting chaired by the United States on the sidelines of the African Union summit in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Johnnie Carson gathered the presidents of Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Djibouti and Uganda, along with the prime minister of Ethiopia for a closed-door session.

Senior European Union officials were also there, along with U.N. Deputy Secretary General Asha Rose Migiro and top diplomats from Britain and France, which along with the United States comprise the so-called P3 on the U.N. Security Council.

The European Union, the United Nations and the United States are the main financial contributors to the African Union's AMISOM peacekeeping force in Somalia.

The meeting to plan additional support for Somalia's transitional government has taken on added significance following deadly suicide bomb attacks earlier this month in Kampala.  The Somali insurgent group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the terrorist acts, but Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni told the summit he believes Middle Eastern and South Asian forces were involved.  

Carson says the bombings have raised international consciousness about the need to strengthen the government in Mogadishu.

"Somalia is responsible for piracy," Carson said. "It is also a source of terrorism, which has been visited on countries like Tanzania, Kenya and most recently Uganda.  And it is a place where we see foreign fighters and where we also see an increasing number of extremists operating."

African diplomats say efforts to produce a forceful decision on Somalia at the Kampala summit are being stymied by the Eritrean delegation.  Eritrea, the only Horn of Africa country not a member of the regional economic bloc IGAD, is said to be opposed to plans by regional powers Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda to reinforce AMISOM and strengthen its rules of engagement to allow commanders more authority to respond to al-Shabab attacks.  

An Eritrean delegate is said to have asked why, if Afghanistan's leaders can negotiate with the Taliban, why Somalia's leaders cannot talk to al-Shabab.  

But Secretary Carson says the consensus at the sidelines meeting is to do whatever necessary to back the transitional government.

"We came away even more united and committed to work together strengthen the TFG, to help strengthen AMISOM, to help strengthen the forces for stability in Somalia and to help do as much as we can to help beat al-Shabab," he said. "Al-Shabab represents a foreign and a negative influence that cannot only be destructive inside Somalia, but across the entire region."

One surprising development Monday was the participation of South Africa's Foreign Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, in the Somalia meeting.  AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping told reporters Saturday he had sent a personal letter to President Jacob Zuma asking him to send South African troops to join AMISOM.

When asked whether he would respond positively, Mr. Zuma only laughed.  But in a speech to the summit Monday, Mr. Zuma appeared to suggest he is considering the request.

"As leaders we should rise to this challenge, which is yet another indicator of the road we still have to travel to build a prosperous secure and peaceful Africa in a just stable world," he said.

The 6,000-member AMISOM force is made up exclusively of Ugandan and Burundian troops.  But Chairman Ping says Guinea has a battalion of trained and equipped troops ready to join the force as soon as the country's suspension from the African Union is lifted.  The West African country was suspended last year after a military coup, but the ban is likely to be lifted as soon as a second round of elections is held.   

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid