Robust security force critical to secure August polls, UN envoy to Somalia says

THE UN Special Envoy to Somalia Michael Keating has raised the red flag over what he termed as ‘too many civilians and too many soldiers dying’ in the country and called for concerted efforts to reinforce security as Somalia enters the final stretch for the August polls.

Addressing the UN Security Council Tuesday, Keating said the militant group Al-Shabaab is trying to disrupt the electoral process that they see rightly as threatening their agenda.

Al-Shabaab incursions

The remarks come amid several killings in the capital Mogadishu and Al-Shabaab incursion mid-March in the coastal area of Puntland which Keating said highlighted the vulnerability of the north.

While addressing the same forum, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud equally echoed the need for support on the security sector especially at this time when the country is preparing for elections. Noting the joint Somali army and AMISOM offensives have reclaimed over 80% of territories from Al-Shabaab, President Mohamud said terrorism and violent extremism still posed a threat to the country’s stability.

“We cannot and will not quit before it is successfully completed,” Mohamud said. “Further resources and commitment are needed now more than ever to chop off the head of the venomous snake of terror once and for all.”

Courage

Keating paid tribute to the National Army and the AU force, AMISOM for their courage in confronting Al-Shabaab. Keating noted there was need for increased support to the security forces to ensure the polls are not interrupted.

“They deserve our continued support. The trilateral partnership –between the Federal Government, the African Union and the UN-remains a cornerstone of the peace and state-building endevour in Somalia,” said Keating.

Regarding the funds shortfall for AMISOM following the European Union 20% cut in February, Keating said an AU-UN Task Force held in Ethiopia recently sought to advance a combined effort to meet the deficiency in AMISOM funding and to strengthen the force capacity to secure the electoral process.

Keating praised the Federal Government for its efforts to develop the National Threat Assessment and the National Security Policy which were early this month shared with regional administrations for input before the National Leadership Forum in May.

He also applauded the formation of a new policing model in Somalia which defines roles and responsibilities at both federal and state levels and accountability to civilian authorities.

 

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