Somalia’s government and its foreign backers said on Thursday (April 11) that they had worked on a plan to try and strengthen the army to take over the fight against al Shabaab militants from over-stretched African Union troops.
British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson told a London conference that the scheme would “give Somali forces clarity over command and control, making them more effective and in time, allowing them to take over from AMISOM in liberating areas from the terrorists of al Shabab and providing security thereafter.”
The African Union (ANISOM) troops have clawed back most of Somalia’s main towns and cities from al Shabaab since they helped drive the Al Qaeda-linked insurgents out of the capital Mogadishu in 2010. But the soldiers from Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and other states are due to start leaving in 2018 – and the Islamist militants still manage to launch regular deadly attacks in the capital and beyond.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pledged support to the Somali government during the conference and urged the international community to respond to the challenges in Somalia.
Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed told media at the conclusion of the conference that the security pact with its partners was “affordable, acceptable and accountable.”