The top United Nations official in Somalia welcomed the recovery of the port city Barawe from Al-Shabaab fighters, the first time it has been in Somali control for more than two decades.
“I encourage any remaining Al-Shabaab to lay down their arms. Now is the time for peace and political progress for all Somali people,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicholas Kay.
He called the recovery by the Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces a “critical milestone” in the country’s path to peace and stability.
After decades of factional fighting, new Somali national institutions emerged in 2012, as the country ended a transitional phase toward setting up a permanent, democratically-elected Government.
The SNA and AMISOM have been pursuing a renewed offensive against Al-Shabaab, who in 2011 were forced to retreat from the capital, Mogadishu.
The UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), which Mr. Kay leads, was established in 2013 by the UN Security Council. It is mandated to support the Federal Government of Somalia with its peace and state building agenda and to strengthen Somalia’s security sector, promote respect for human rights and women’s empowerment and assist in the coordination of international assistance.