African Union urges ‘more creativity’ in fight against al-Shabaab

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has called on Djiboutian and Ethiopian forces to be more creative to enhance the fight against al-Shabaab militants in the Horn of Africa nation.

Recruits belonging to Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab militant group march during a parade at a military training base in Afgoye, Somalia, on February 17, 2011.

Nakibus Lakara, deputy force commander in charge of operations and plans who has been visiting military bases in Somalia on assessment mission called on the troops to support the Somalia National Army (SNA) to help them defend their country in the eventual takeover.

“The SNA needs to be supported first of all to generate forces and this has been the focus, in line with the Transition Plan, that AMISOM must handover to a capable force, able to defend the country when AMISOM exists,” he said in a statement issued on Monday evening.

Lakara visited Beletweyne, the headquarters of the AMISOM Sector 4, controlled by Djibouti troops, backed by Ethiopian forces, where he was briefed on the overall security situation and progress made in implementing the concept of operations CONOPs.

The CONOP which aims to provide a structure for AMISOM operations from 2018-2021, marks the final phase of the AU Mission’s transition and its eventual exit from Somalia.

It is expected to provide a comprehensive basis for conducting operations in including, the training and mentoring of the Somali police and the national army, while at the same time creating a useful framework for stabilization, civil-military activities, early recovery and reconstruction.

The AMISOM official said while the SNA is building up its forces, AMISOM should forge ahead with discharging its mandate as spelled out under CONOPs.

“We have had a lengthy discussion to look at what needs to be done, and what needs to be provided, in order to enable the forces to accomplish the assigned tasks,” he said after holding a meeting with Djiboutian and Ethiopian troops.

Lakara, who was briefed on measures being undertaken to counter the threat of improvised explosive device which terrorists have been using and he appreciated the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) for the critical support in countering the threat of IEDs.

Lakara’s visit to Beletweyne comes just days after a similar visit to Jowhar, the headquarters of AMISOM Sector 5, under the control of Burundi forces, and a Forward Operating Base in Gololey, still under Sector 5.