Mogadishu, July 1, 2014: The newly appointed Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission in Somalia (DSRCC), Honorable Lydia Wanyoto Mutende has applauded the leadership of the previously fractious Bay, Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions for burying the hatchet and working towards unity.

Hon. Wanyoto-Mutende was speaking after meeting the regions’ administrators in Baidoa yesterday, exactly a week after representatives of the South West-6 Group and the South West-3 Group signed an agreement to form an interim administration for the three regions of Bay, Bakool and Lower Shabelle.

“By working together in peace, Al Shabaab will find no way to operate. Do not give a chance to violence. Continue to solve all issues by sitting down together, discussing and resolving your conflicts amicably,” she said. “It is now time to rebuild Somalia; to build schools for your children, roads, water sources to alleviate the suffering, and other infrastructure. There are more important things to do.”

Hon. Wanyoto conveyed her admiration for the determination of the local administration to steer their region into a direction of peace and reconciliation. She emphasized the importance of solving all problems through dialogue rather than resorting to violence.

The leaders expressed their “appreciation for the passion and sincere involvement of AMISOM in matters that are dear” to them, and said Hon. Wanyoto-Mutende’s visit was testimony about AMISOM’s concern for the well-being and progress of the people of Somalia.

“AMISOM has a different culture from ours, but they have showed us time and again that we are all brothers and for this, we shall continue to support them and to work very closely with them,” they said.

The elders also conveyed to the DSRCC their challenges, including the lack of properadministrative skills to effectively serve the people they represent. The DSRCC reassured them of AMISOM’s continued support.  She cited the capacity building programme for Somali civil servants that the mission has been conducting since 2010, as part of the on-going support.

Meanwhile, the DSRCC met with the Ethiopian troops in Sector 3, led by their Sector Commander, Brig. Gen. Gabremadhin Fikadu, as well as the women serving in the contingent, to motivate them and thank them for the sacrifice they are making for the cause of stability in Somalia and Africa. She passed a goodwill message for the holy month of Ramadan while meeting with the locals, before she toured the now relatively secure town, as a reassurance to the communities of the presence of AMISOM forces particularly during this Ramadan season.