MOGADISHU, 23 September 2009 (Somalilandpress) – Faced with such phenomenon, the UN special envoy to Somalia, Ahmadou Ould Abdallah, has recommended the creation of a high security green zone in Mogadishu just like the one in Baghdad. It is aimed at repatriating all organizations who work on Somalia from Nairobi, Kenya.
However, the setting up of such mechanism is giving rise to problems.
Islamist insurgents continue to be very active. Fighting against government forces in southwest of the country killed at least 17 people on Monday.
On Sunday [20 September], Al-Shabab called for more suicide against AMISOM [African Union Mission in Somalia] just like the one that occurred on Thursday in Mogadishu killing 21 including 17 African Union soldiers.
Obstacles facing setting up of green security zone in Mogadishu is very limited.
While a good number of opposition parties were loudly calling for the return of Burundian soldiers in the African Union peace force – Amisom [African Union Mission in Somalia] – the day before yesterday, during the funereal service for 12 Burundian soldiers killed in Somalia yesterday, First Vice-President Yves Sahinguvu announced that the Burundian government can only withdraw its troops after the latter will have completed their mission. On behalf of the government, he said the soldiers’ death has not caused any discouragement.
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In a speech at the burial of the soldiers, the African Union (UA) representative to Somalia, Mr Nicolas Bwakira, suggested a review of the mandate of the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia (Amisom). According to him, the time has come to review Amisom’s mandate, meaning give the force the power to act when necessary because to this day, the Amisom forces have only had the right to defend themselves. He also suggested that the soldiers be given sufficient equipment to best undertake their mission.
It is finally worth recalling that the Amisom contingent is only composed of Burundian and Ugandan soldiers who add up to 5,000 men against the 8,000 anticipated at beginning of the mission in 2007 according to officials.
For two years, the Shebab and its allies such as Hezb al-Islam focused their war effort against Ethiopian troops. But after the Ethiopians pulled out of Somalia in January, the militias have made the African peacekeeping force AMISOM their target, accusing them of being the foreguard of a Christian crusade.
AMISOM has found itself drawn into the conflict, often exchanging heavy mortar fire with rebel militias targeting its bases from densely populated urban areas.
While the Shebab is believed to enjoy only limited support in the Somali population, the civilian casualties caused by AMISOM fire have all but dashed that force’s own hopes of building local credibility.
By Abdinasir Mohamed