African Union Peacekeeping Troops arriving in Somalia. The contingent is supposed to stabilize the country after a US-backed invasion by Ethiopia had sparked a guerrilla movement aimed at removing foreign occupation., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
AU wants leaders to end Somalia’s crisis
Tuesday, 12 April 2011 00:00 From Ifedayo Sayo, Mombasa, Kenya News
THE African Union Mission on Somalia (AMISOM) has pleaded with the African heads of state to show more commitment to restoring peace to troubled Somalia.
The mission also called on African countries, which made pledges to contribute troops to the peace mission in Somalia to fulfill their pledges, stressing that the situation in the troubled nation had continued to deteriorate over two decades.
Deputy Special Representative of the chairman of the African Union (AU) to Somalia, Mr. Wafula Wamunyinyi, at the AMISOM media conference in Mombasa, Kenya, yesterday noted that some countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi, South Africa, Guinea and Sierra Leone made pledges to contribute troops for the restoration of peace in Somalia in 2007, but regretted that only two countries, Burundi and Uganda fulfilled their promises.
He called on other African countries, particularly those who made pledges towards the restoration of peace in Somalia to fulfill those pledges, pointing out that the situation in Somalia required the urgent attention of African nations in collaboration with the international community.
Somalia has not known peace since the removal of President Siad Barre in 1991 and two decades after the departure of Barre from power, the crisis has evolved from civil war characterised by clanism and war-lordism to a crisis that today involves transnational crimes, human trafficking, piracy, extremism and international terrorism actively supported by Al-Qaeda through Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam.
“Several efforts, including the signing of 13 peace agreements, facilitated by various bodies including the United Nations, African Union and the International Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to re-establish peace, law and order in Somalia have failed.
“In 2004, the Transitional Federal Charter was adopted and the Transitional Federal Government was established in Kenya following the conclusion of Mbagathi round of talks. The government was given five years tenure with the key transitional tasks including reaching out to all Somalia stakeholders with a view to broadening the scope of dialogue and reconciliation among all Somalis,” Wamunyinyi said
He pointed out that AMISOM was established in 2007 with a mandate to provide support for the Somali transitional federal institutions in their efforts to stabilise the situation in Somali, adding that since the establishment of AMISOM in March 2007, it had maintained an uninterrupted peacekeeping presence in Somalia and implementation of its mandate along political, security and reconstruction actions.
The security activities, according to Wamunyinyi, included the provision of security for government agencies and key infrastructure in Mogadishu, the Somalia capital.
He said despite the successes recorded by AMISOM in its activities in Somalia, the country was facing some challenges, which included the full implementation of the transitional charter.
He decried misrepresentation of facts concerning the activities of AMISOM in the media, adding that the media environment in Somalia was not conducive to peace.
“During the past two years, the media has been operating under fear, corruption and a distorted competitiveness. Many journalists have been killed for not being on the side of Al-Shabaab, and many more have fled the country for fear of being murdered. As such, there is a huge vacuum being filled by unskilled journalists who have no understanding of how to shape a report, how to verify sources and corroborate stories.
“Under constant intimidation, they play into the tune of Al-Shabaab and produce reports that are read and believed by local and international communities without understanding the context. This in turn, tends to overshadow AMISOM’s communication and humanitarian activities,” he said.