Somalia:Talking to Al Shabaab is not AMISOM’s mandate

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By Staff writer

AMISOM troops patrolling in Mogadisho-Net photo

The Africa Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) working under the mandate of African Union has ruled out the possibility of talking to Al shabaab, even any armed group in Somalia

Ambassador Basile Gateretse, a Rwandan official in charge bilateral and multilateral who represented the head of AMISOM in last week Kigali conference on” the role of communications and Median in Peace support operations” said the force is in Somalia under African Union which is apolitical mission currently has no mandate to negotiate with Al shabaab militias.

Alshabaab which is a hard line Islamic group mainly made of Somali youth and some foreign elements controls a large area of Somalia. Though, AMISOM official told Great Lakes Voice that the militia has lost reputation to recruit more youth.

“We are only allowed to talk to any armed group when they lay down their arms. Al shabaab is yet to laying down their arms,” Gateretse said.

AMISOM has managed to capture Mogadishu and securing the legislative election which Somalis has managed to elect the parliamentarians and the speaker peacefully.

Deputy force commander, Brigadier Nduwumunsi said AMISOM is gaining control of bigger part of Somalia and Alshabaab is weakened. As AMISOM says they can’t negotiate with armed militia, Nduwumwe said discussing with clan leaders has earned the force victory.

Brig. Nduwumwe, has blamed humanitarian organizations who are many times involved in blowing false trumpet about high number of IDP’s at AMISOM target town and when the force investigates after the town is captured, they find few people and “most of the time there is none.”

“What now Alshabaab do is only to infiltrate. They don’t have capacity to fight a conventional war, they have resolved to guerilla war. By now, we have got Kenya and Djibouti troops on the ground, we shall flash Al shabaab out of the country,” He said

Several officials in AMISOM said the mission still faces some challenges of the complexity of Somali politics, volatile security, and gaps in coordination.

However, Brig. Nduwumunsi has accepted Al shabaab still occupy a large part. Adding that, Kenya troops are in preparations for taking over Kismayo.

Somalia faces the conflict that involves Islamist group Al shabaab, clan groups, Ahlu Sunna Wal-Jama which is Islamism moderate group that fights Alshabaab also with partnership with AMISOM and neighboring countries.

A United Nations official who is affiliated to AMISOM said they do and they can negotiate with Alshabaab on Humanitarian grounds.

According to the AMISOM official, the force is speaking to clan chiefs and very soon the town at the coast (Kismayo) will be liberated.

“We are preparing for two to three weeks only to take over Kismayo from Alshabaab. When the town is liberated, it will be easy to flash out Alshabaab.” The Kenyan KDF senior officer told Great Lakes Voice



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