President Uhuru Kenyatta has called for a review of the mandate of the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to change its rules of engagement as it fights to eradicate terrorists in Somalia.
President Kenyatta also called for more resources for the forces in Somalia to enable AMISOM have robust power on land, air and the sea. He noted that it was challenging for the forces deployed in Somalia, that has a coastline of more than 3,000 kilometers (1864 miles), to operate effectively without the much needed air and maritime components.
“The objective was to support the Federal Government of Somalia to recover the entire territory of Somalia by 2015, in time for the 2016 general elections. It is clear that this objective has not been achieved and it points to the need to vary the mandate of AMISOM,” the President said. “In order to achieve this strategic objective, AMISOM requires a reviewed mandate to enable its troops match the changing tactics,” added the President in a communique by State House.
He was addressing the African Union Peace and Security Council. He noted that although AMISOM has made gains from the time it deployed forces in Somalia, now was the time to change gear and allow the soldiers in Somalia to root out the terrorists to enable the Federal Government of Somalia to recover the entire territory.
According to the head of state, terrorists are changing tactics and as such, he called for security forces in neighboring countries as well as AMISOM to take necessary action to stay steps ahead.
He said this pointing to the recent AMISOM base attack which happened a fortnight ago leaving many members of the force dead and others seriously injured. He noted that while terrorism is a global problem, the attack indicated that Somalia is an arena of terrorism.
“In order to fight it therefore, all of us must continue the difficult and daunting task of identifying, separating, tracking and deterring the enemy wherever they may be found,” said the President.
Five-point Recommendation to the PSC
In his presentation to the Peace and Security Council (PSC), President Kenyatta gave a five-point recommendation:
First, he sought a review of AMISOM mandate to match Al Shabaab’s mode of warfare.
Second, he wanted the Peace and Security Committee to ensure that AMISOM fully deploys troops in their respective areas of jurisdiction especially Gedo region in Sector 3 and review the sector allocations.
Third, he urged the AU to ask the UN and international partners to provide the necessary force multipliers to AMISOM for better operational capabilities.
Fourth, he sought a predictable, adequate and sustainable funding for AMISOM through the UN assessed contributions.
Fifth, the President said it was imperative to provide resources, housing, jumpstart livelihoods and offer support for initiatives that increase productivity in liberated areas in order to create pull factors and accelerate the return of refugees into Somalia.
South Sudan, Burundi Crisis
The President also spoke on the situations in South Sudan and Burundi.
He called on the leaders in South Sudan to be honest in implementing the peace accord they entered into. He at the same time urged the AU to put pressure on the warring sides to opt for peace.
“I am optimistic that this Council will come up with decisions that guarantee humanitarian access to affected populations and exert the necessary leverage to all parties to invigorate implementation of the Peace Agreement,” said the President.
The PSC meeting was in two parts. The first part was attended by all Presidents and dealt with the issues of terrorism and South Sudan.
The second session was attended by Presidents of the countries that are members of the PSC and went late into the night.
Photo Credit: AMISOM