Somalia: AU Forces and SNA launch joint operations against Al-Shabaab
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Somali National Army [SNA] and the African Union Mission Forces [AMISOM] on Wednesday launched joint operations which will help degrade the Al-Shabaab militants, who still control large swathes of rural central and southern Somalia.
According to officials, the center will be based on Sector One headquarters and was officially launched by Somalia's army chief General Odowaa Yusuf Rageh and AMISOM Deputy Force Commander Maj.Gen.William Kitsao Shume.
Henceforth, the center will be jointly operated by AMISOM and SNA military officers who are expected to lead the coordination in the fight against Al-Shabaab, a group that has been wreaking havoc within and outside the country.
Gen. Odowaa reiterated SNA’s commitment and emphasized the importance of collaboration between SNA and AMISOM in running the centers established across AMISOM’s areas of responsibility.
“The success of these centers will depend on the relationship of the two headquarters of SNA and AMISOM, and how they coordinate in delegating work to the sectors, which then execute any such directives for successful execution and implementation. On our part, we will put in a lot of effort to make that happen,” he said.
The center is now located within Mogadishu and will serve six others where AMISOM is based. The African Union troops have six sectors across the country where troops from different countries are serving.
Gen. Odowaa, who took over in 2017, said AMISOM and SNA have established a good working relationship over the years, noting that such shared experiences between the two forces will enable them to optimize the center.
“I believe our long-standing cooperation and experiences gained over years will help us to get the best out of this center so we can ably confront the challenges that lie ahead. Let us utilize the center and optimize any opportunities we might have missed, prior to the establishment of the center,” added Gen. Odawara.
The Deputy Force Commander Maj. Gen. Shume said the launch of the center was an important milestone in achieving a shared goal of having fully operational centers across the country.
“This event marks a milestone in our endeavor to have all the JOCCs around the sectors fully functioning and operating. I am happy to note that the JOCCs in all the other sectors are also already established. We will be jointly planning, coordinating, and synchronizing current and future operations together. Therefore, we will be able to optimize the utilization of combat support and combat service support together as we plan for our operations,” said Maj. Gen. Shume.
AMISOM Sector I commander Maj. General Don Nabasa, reiterated the importance of joint planning, noting that the establishment of the center and several others across the country, would help address some of the challenges faced by both forces.
“For effective conduct of any operation, planning is the most critical. Therefore, I want to take this opportunity to thank the SNA and AMISOM leadership for this wonderful initiative of establishing Joint Operations Coordination Cells in all the sectors. This will definitely bridge the gap that has been existing in the area of joint planning,” said Maj. Gen. Nabasa.
AMISOM has about 22,000 soldiers serving in Somalia and has been in the country since 2007. Some of the troops contributing nations include Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Burundi and the mission is expected to be restructured later on this year.