Somalia, AU forces seek solution to improvised explosive devices

MOGADISHU, Sept. 27– Somalia and the African Union peacekeeping mission (AMISOM) forces on Monday kicked off a three-day conference to review threats posed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and plan mitigating measures.


The conference, which also brought together representatives from the UN and the British forces discussed the increasing threats and dangers posed by IEDs in the Horn of Africa country. “I expect actionable recommendations brought forward, so that guidance can be given to all sectors from the Force headquarters and the recommendations to the African Union’s Peace Support Operations Division for action,” Osman Noor Soubagleh, the AMISOM Force Commander, said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.The conference which is sponsored by the United Nations Mine Assistance Mission (UNMAS) is aimed at developing counter IED capability in Somalia. Soubagleh noted that previous workshops held on IEDs, had led to increased awareness and knowledge, leading to a significant increase in discovered explosives and their safe disposal.


Participants at the symposium will share knowledge and information on IEDs to help understand the scope of the threat. Discussions will focus on how to effectively control the widespread use of such explosives by terror organizations such as Al-Shabaab. The Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson (SRCC) for Somalia Francisco Madeira urged international partners to continue support to AMISOM and the SNA to enable them to effectively mitigate the dangers posed by IEDs on civilians and security forces in Somalia. “To reduce the threat of IEDs, a combination of education, training, good reporting, exchange of information, degrading the network of the terrorists and investment in equipment to defeat the IEDs is required,” said Madeira. “It is only then that AMISOM and Somali National Security Forces (SNSF) can undertake the necessary stabilization operations that Somalia needs, to develop a stable and secure state,” he added.


The Director of Mission Support at the United Nations Support Office in Somalia Amadu Kamara said the convention would contribute to the development of effective IED mitigation strategies, as part of the wider comprehensive approach to security in south central Somalia. Allan McDonald, the Director of UNMAS reiterated the importance of passing on the knowledge gained at the conference to the troops on the front line and most especially to the Somali security forces, in line with efforts to support Somali led operations, ahead of the planned drawdown of AU forces. The Commander of the British Forces, Colonel John Wakelin noted that the fight against IEDs required a multi-pronged response, to deal effectively with the challenge. “There is no silver bullet, there is no magic bullet, there is no one solution to solving this IED challenge. There is no one bit of funding, there is no one technique or tactic that is going to fix this. It is a blend,” Wakelin said. – XINHUA