The African Union Military Mission on Somalia (AMISOM) says it is ready to handle the security situation following the imminent withdrawal of Ethiopian troops. The assurance comes after the Islamic group Al-Shabab Sunday attacked the offices of some non-governmental organizations in the capital, Mogadishu. Some political analysts believe the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops would adversely destabilize the country. On the other hand, some Somalis say The Ethiopian troops pull out would seriously undermine the support that Al-Shabab has been enjoying so far. Earlier this year Washington classified Al-Shabaab as a terrorist organization. Major Bridgye Bosuko is the spokesman for AMISOM. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the Somali capital, Mogadishu that the mission would ensure stability after the Ethiopian troops pull out.
"First of all the troop commanders on the ground know very well for some time now that Ethiopia made its intentions clear that it would be going away and therefore everything has been done to take care of any eventualities. But also, the troop contributing countries, which as of today only Uganda and Burundi have definitely taken keen interest of whatever developments have been going on for about the last two three months. And so, I think there shouldn't be any cause for alarm," Major Bosuko pointed out.
He said the African Union mission is deficient in troop levels.
"I think it is important to mention to the world that when the plan was made for the African Union commission to come to this mission area, the expected troop levels were eight thousand soldiers. But as we speak today, there are about three thousand plus troops in the mission area that means we have a shortage of about five thousand troops. And therefore, whatever AMISOM can do on the ground would be based on the troops on the ground and the mandate that was handed down to it. Any other shortcoming would be understood within the context of the mission that we have been carrying on," he said.
Major Bosuko said it was important for people to know what is actually going on in Somali politics.
"I think sometimes there are some misconceptions about Somalia. I think it is not very correct to call these guys (Al-Shabab) terrorists and I think there are some positive elements in this group that we can identify and work with. And therefore whenever we are making these statements we need to be careful about labeling," Major Bosuko noted.
He said Somalia has been unstable for some time now.
"I think it is also wrong to say that they (AL-Shabab) have been taking over. They have been capturing areas. Capturing over from whom? Because you see, 17 years down the road, this country has not had a government. It has not had a traditional African way of solving problems. What does that mean that for these 17, 18 years down the road? I mean there is nothing so when you say taking over and capturing areas, it is like the areas are there and they are taking over from someone. So, this someone that you are talking about is the person or problem that we need to solve," he said.
Major Bosuko said the African Union mission has been under incessant attacks ever since its troops arrived in Somalia.
"I am saying that from the time that AMISOM arrived in the mission area, which is way back in March 2007, the AMISOM troops have been attacked almost on a daily basis. The same way we have handled the previous attacks is the same way we shall continue to handle what will happen," Major Bosuko pointed out.