A team of defence experts from the UN Security Council is in the country to certify the number of soldiers and the list of requirements given by the government for the integration of Kenya’s soldiers into African Union forces in Somalia.
Kenya is expected to provide manpower while the AU will provide further training and equipment to the soldiers battling Al-Shabaab insurgents.
The AU will now fund the forces’ operations by paying for the firearms, uniforms, salaries and allowances.
Defence minister Yusuf Haji said they had furnished the AU with the number of soldiers and the equipment to be used in the mission— including the number of firearms, uniforms, aircraft and technical crew like engineers.
Mr Haji said Kenyan soldiers would rehat into the African Mission in Somalia (Amisom) forces soon as the Security Council fulfils the requirements. Read more…
By William Maclean
LONDON (Reuters) – African, Arab and Western nations worried by Somalia’s turmoil meet on Thursday to coordinate efforts against militants and pirates seen as growing threats to global security and ramp up measures to end famine and clan violence.
Sceptics say the London conference of 40 countries including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon risks producing fine words but no action: They point to ineffective similar gatherings in the past 20 years involving a corrupt Somali elite skilled in extracting support from Western aid bureaucrats and foreign peacekeepers.
But the British organisers have sought to temper expectations, explaining that the aim of the event is to galvanise policymakers’ attention on Somalia to better coordinate a sometimes disjointed international response.
It will not delve far into the details of Somalia’s clan-based politics, which play a complex role in everything from business and piracy to the distribution of humanitarian aid.
Nevertheless, Somalis who have known nothing but war, famine and blunder-prone international intervention for decades cannot help but hope for something that will improve their lives. Read more…
Posted in Africa - International, East Africa, Humanitarian Issues
Tagged al-Shabab, AU, Britain, Cameron, Clinton, London conference on Somalia, piracy, terrorism, UN, USA
Islamist militant group al-Shabab, which controls much of Somalia, has released a joint video with al-Qaeda, announcing the two groups have merged.
Al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, known as Mukhtar Abu Zubair, said he “pledged obedience” to al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The two groups have long worked together and foreigners are known to fight alongside Somali militants.
The announcement comes as al-Shabab is under pressure on several fronts.
Africa Union troops supporting the forces of the UN-backed government have taken control of the capital, Mogadishu, while both Kenya and Ethiopia have sent forces into Somalia to push back the Islamists.
Al-Shabab, however, still controls many southern and central areas of the country.
However, correspondents say al-Shabab’s policy of banning many foreign aid agencies from areas it controls during the region’s worst drought in 60 years has lost the group some of its popular support.
The United Nations says that although the famine in Somalia is officially over, a third of the population still needs urgent feeding. Read more…
Alex de Waal
The dominant interventionist approach to peace and security in Africa by-passes the hard work of creating domestic political consensus and instead imposes models of government favoured by western powers. The emergent African methodology offers a chance to develop locally-rooted solutions too often sidelined.
The common modus operandi for resolving an African civil war is no longer for the warring parties to sit together to hammer out their differences. Instead they compete for the favours of the USA, France and Britain—the so-called “P-3” of the United Nations Security Council—which do their best to determine the outcome of any crisis, ostensibly in accord with principles such as democracy and the protection of civilians, but more consistently with regard to their own political interests. Some African leaders are promoting the idea that a country should determine its own political settlement, based on an inclusive negotiating forum. But this is an uphill struggle, not least because, well aware of where power lies and aid money comes from, African publics often go along with western preferences.
The last twelve months have seen African-led efforts to resolve the conflicts in Cote d’Ivoire and Libya brushed aside by France and NATO respectively, which used military force to achieve their political objectives. African Union proposals for resolving the conflict in Darfur, Sudan, by inclusive political dialogue have been ignored by the P3 in favour of an approach that relegates discussions among Sudanese to an adjunct to bargaining between the Government of Sudan and the western powerbrokers. In Somalia, Africa and western powers have agreed on a security-led response that leaves a political settlement in a distant second place. Read more…
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has asked the African Union to stop supporting Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC), warning that Africa is facing recolonisation.
According to state media, President Mugabe launched the astonishing tirade against Libya’s new leaders at a Peace and Security section of the AU summit in Addis Ababa on Monday.
He said the continental body must not rush into recognising the NTC but investigate what happened to former Libyan leader the late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi who was killed in an uprising last year.
“We fought imperialism and colonialism and forced them out of Africa…our founding fathers did not have the means but they stood up and said no but there here we are absolutely silent,” he reportedly said.
“W should have said no to Nato. Gaddafi was killed in broad daylight, his children hunted like animals and then we rush to recognise the NTC.”
He said the AU summit “should look at what happened and we should be deciding whether to recognise the NTC or not.” Read more…
The BBC’s Will Ross has been to Puntland in Somalia with the British Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell. The Minister called for a stronger international approach to tackle the root causes of the problems in Somalia. See Will Ross’s report.
Somalia has not had a functioning central government for more than 20 years and has suffered conflict, disease and famine. Currently Kenya, Ethiopia and the African Union all have troops in Somalia.
Puntland and the “independent” state of Somaliland to the north have avoided much of the recent violence and have tried to find local solutions.
Serious questions need to be asked about past and present African or international efforts to find solutions for Somalia – often they take the form of imposed solutions which bear no relation to the realities of Somalia or the wishes or participation of Somalis. KS
A fascinating piece well worth reading – I don’t agree with everything the author says (I think he overplays the resentment), but I think he is right about suspicion of South African foreign policy and about the timing and seeming arrogance of the bid. KS
Analysis: South Africa is too American to lead Africa
Maybe it’s not meant to be arrogant, but that’s how it’s perceived. South Africa’s bid to install Dlamini-Zuma as AU chief will only solidify the negative opinions of South Africa on the continent. The problem is we’re becoming a lot like America – and it’s too late to stop now. By SIMON ALLISON.
I’m going to tell you a secret. It’s not a very well-kept secret, but it’s one that most South Africans don’t know. So here it is: the rest of Africa doesn’t like us very much. Being a South African in Africa is like being an American in the rest of the world. We’re looked upon with a mix of envy and resentment, our wealth and power relative to the rest of the continent ensuring that most of the time we get our way.
Every country I go to I find myself surrounded by symbols of South Africa’s success: the DStv in my hotel room, the malls filled with South African shops like Shoprite, Mr Price and Nandos, the big billboard adverts for MTN and Standard Bank. Forget the Chinese in Africa. They just build things and take minerals. It is South Africans who are shaping the way that Africans live their lives. We are a cultural and economic juggernaut that is impossible to stop. We are the African superpower. Read more…
ISIOLO, Kenya (Reuters) – Two bombs exploded in two Kenyan towns close to the Somali border on Sunday, in coordinated attacks that killed a policeman and were blamed on Somalia’s Islamist al Shabaab rebels, residents and a senior police commander said.
The attacks appeared to target Kenyan security forces, who have been battling al Shabaab inside southern Somalia. Kenya, the region’s biggest economy, has been plagued by a wave of low-level strikes since sending troops across the border eight weeks ago.
Leo Nyongesa, the police chief for Kenya’s North Eastern province, blamed Sunday’s attacks on the Islamist rebels, and said one police officer had been killed in one of the blasts.
Witnesses in the town of Mandera said a remote-controlled explosive device detonated shortly after a group of police officers took shelter under a clump of trees, a stone’s throw from the porous frontier. Residents said police patrols frequently rest in that spot. Read more…
UN head Ban Ki-moon is visiting the Somali capital, Mogadishu – the highest-ranking foreign official to go there in years.
He was wearing a bulletproof vest as he was welcomed at the airport by Somalia’s prime minister.
His visit comes a day after the fiercest clashes in the city for several months.
Islamist militants are battling the forces of the UN-backed government and African Union troops.
Somalia has been racked by war for two decades and has not had a functioning national government since 1991. Read more…