Omamo urges troops increase for AMISOM

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 23 – Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo has called on troops contributing countries to the African Union Mission to Somalia to increase their soldiers in order to enhance the war on terror in the region.

The CS says a proposal will be made to the United Nations, after which Kenya will decide on whether to increase its troops or not.

“If the United Nations finds that proposal acceptable, we will engage internally and see how many we can provide… but the critical thing is strengthening the force,” she stated.

“Our main concern is strengthening AMISOM, so that it can be able to discharge its mandate internally.”

She warned that the threat of terror in the region and globally remains real hence the need for a collective approach in dealing with the challenge.

“In the world in which we live in at present, without friends, we cannot meet the security challenges. Without a collective approach to security, we will not get far,” she cautioned.

On this note, she said a mutual defence agreement on having an East African standby force has since been finalised.

She also said that the African standby force can now tackle any security challenges within the continent after it was operationalised.

“One of the greatest threats to peace globally is terrorism. These attacks have affected civilians and those in discipline forces,” she said.

“It is not a matter of choice, it is imperative. We must work together. There are no bystanders in the war against terror.”

The CS said global forces must share intelligence even more, to seal all security loopholes since, “We all have a share in security.”

Troops and police contributing countries to the AMISOM have since agreed on a coordinated approach to achieving the mission’s agenda.

The AMISOM member countries during a recent AMISOM summit in Djibouti resolved to ensure full deployment of troops to all the sectors covered by AMISOM mission in Somalia.

Omamo spoke on Wednesday when she addressed several high commissioners and defence attaches at the International Peace Support Training Centre in Karen.

She further called on the United Nations to provide more resources to AMISOM, since its budget has financial gaps following a move by the European Union to reduce its funding by 20 percent.

“AMISOM is fighting for the world, we are the one on the front line…we ask that we continue to supporting AMISOM in the same way all UN forces are embraced,” she said.

“AMISOM must be treated in the same way that we treat any force that fight for the world peace.”

The CS emphasized that AMISOM was fighting terrorism in Somali on behalf of the international community and hence the need for the United Nations to fully fund its operations.

“It was felt that the threats of terror in Somalia are also a challenge to international peace and security. The UN needs to do its part in assisting in the financing of AMISOM,” she said.

She said defence and foreign affairs ministers of the concerned countries have been tasked to accelerate the process of engaging the United Nations Security Council as regards the issue of financing of AMISOM.

AMISOM faces financial constrains at a critical stage when Somalia is heading to a general election later in the year.

Since the formation of the force, the war torn country has slowly regained stability despite the imminent threat posed by Al-Shabaab militia.

The force is also tasked with fighting other transnational crimes, specifically along the Indian Ocean route which had been characterised by cases of human trafficking and piracy.

It is believed that terrorist largely used the expansive Somalia coast line to get their support, ranging from finances and armoury specifically through the Kismayu port, currently under the Kenya Defence Forces serving under AMISOM.

AMISOM, as a multidimensional peace support operation, is mandated to take all necessary measures in coordination with the Somalia National Defence and Public Safety Institutions, to reduce the threat posed by Al Shabaab.

The mission also liaises with humanitarian actors in facilitating humanitarian assistance in Somalia, as well as the resettlement of internally displaced persons and the return of refugees.

They also facilitate coordinated support by relevant AU institutions and structures towards the stabilisation and reconstruction of Somalia and Provide protection to AU and UN personnel, installations and equipment.