25 September 2017, Mogadishu – A symposium to review threats posed by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in Somalia, and plan mitigating measures, opened in Mogadishu today.
Representatives from the AU Mission in Somalia, the Somali security forces, the UN and the British forces are attending the symposium, which will discuss the increasing threats and dangers posed by IEDs in the Horn of Africa country.
“I expect actionable recommendations brought forward, so that guidance can be given to all sectors from the Force Headquarters and the recommendations to the African Union’s Peace Support Operations Division for action,” Lt. Gen. Osman Noor Soubagleh, the AMISOM Force Commander said, during the official opening of the three-day symposium, which is sponsored by the UK government and the United Nations Mine Assistance Mission (UNMAS), and aimed at “developing counter IED capability in Somalia”.
Lt. Gen. Osman Noor Soubagleh noted that previous workshops held on IEDs, had led to increased awareness and knowledge, leading to a significant increase in discovered explosives and their safe disposal.
Participants at the symposium will share further knowledge and information on IEDs to help understand the scope of the threat. Discussions will focus on how to effectively control the widespread use of such explosives by terror organizations such as Al-Shabaab.
“To reduce the threat of IEDs, a combination of education, training, good reporting, exchange of information, degrading the network of the terrorists and investment in equipment to defeat the IEDs is required,” emphasized the Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson (SRCC), for Somalia Ambassador Francisco Caetano Madeira.
“It is only then that AMISOM and SNSF (Somali National Security Forces) can undertake the necessary stabilization operations that Somalia needs, to develop a stable and secure state”.
SRCC Madeira urged international partners to continue support to AMISOM and the SNA, to enable them effectively mitigate the dangers posed by IEDs on civilians and security forces in Somalia.
In his remarks, the Commander of the British Forces, Colonel John Wakelin noted that the fight against IEDs required a multi-pronged response, to deal effectively with the challenge. “There is no silver bullet, there is no magic bullet, there is no one solution to solving this IED challenge,” Col. Wakelin said.
“There is no one bit of funding, there is no one technique or tactic that is going to fix this. It is a blend, “he stressed.
Mr. Amadu Kamara, the Director of Mission Support at the United Nations Support Office in Somalia said the convention would contribute to the “development of effective IED mitigation strategies, as part of the wider comprehensive approach to security in south central Somalia”.
In his remarks, Mr. Allan McDonald, the Director of UNMAS reiterated the importance of passing on the knowledge gained at the conference to the troops on the front line and most especially to the Somali security forces, in line with efforts to support Somali led operations, ahead of the planned drawdown of AU forces.