A former African Union (AU) official is calling for an extraordinary summit of African heads of state and government to address the escalating violence in Somalia.
Ambassador Nicholas Bwakira, the AU’s former special representative to Somalia, said it’s unfortunate countries that pledged troops to help end the violence have yet to live up to their promise.
"I think Kenya as a neighbor of Somalia has refrained from direct involvement that I think was in line with a… resolution taken by the AU. However, today, they (Kenya) are free to intervene at the request of the Somali government…it will be necessary not only for those countries but for the entire international community to stand to their commitment and to deliver on their commitment,” he said.
The international community joined President Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed in condemning Thursday’s bomb blast. The blast reportedly killed three senior government officials and several others in the capital, Mogadishu.
The commander of the African Union’s Force to Somalia (AMISOM) called for more troops to help combat escalating violence blamed on hard line Islamic insurgents.
But Bwakira said troop surge is not a panacea to combating violence.
“Contribution of troops will not be enough. I think the situation will be resolved politically. Encouragement has to be given to those opposing the government of Somalia on the political front at the same time at the same time military intervention in terms of troops generation is also equally important,” Bwakira said.
So far, Uganda and Burundi are the only two African countries that have over 4,000 troops in Somalia. The other countries which pledged to send troops have yet to deliver on their promise.
Bwakira said African leaders would have to focus on the escalating security crisis.
“One way is for the African heads of state to meet on the issue of Somalia only. There have been several meetings, but side meetings not special sessions on Somalia. I believe that the crisis in Somalia is not well appreciated,” Bwakira said.
Abdirahman Omar Osman, a Somali cabinet minister expressed the government’s determination to combat the threat posed by hard line Islamic insurgents.
“Even though we are sad about what happened, we are committed and looking forward to combating this international terrorism… we will like to call on the international community to help us because our government alone… cannot handle such an international terrorism,” Osman said.