Somalia, AU security partners resolve to curb use of IED by Al-Shabaab
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Stakeholders in Somalia's security sector have committed to ending the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by al-Shabab militants to terrorize people in the horn of Africa nation.
In a joint statement issued on Monday after a two-day meeting in Mogadishu, the stakeholders noted that IEDs remain a weapon of choice for terrorists who target African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) convoys, Somali security forces and civilians traveling along the main supply routes.
"As a result, this hampers the movement of people, goods, and the delivery of humanitarian aid to communities in need," said the participants at the meeting organized by AMISOM, the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the British Army.
Simon Mulongo, the deputy special representative of the chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, said countering IEDs is key to AMISOM's war against terrorism.
Mulongo emphasized that AMISOM would implement a raft of measures to curtail the importation of explosive materials that are used as ingredients in the making of IEDs.
Participants at the seminar discussed issues relating to pre-deployment and in-mission training of AMISOM troops and their counterpart Somali security forces, dismantling the IED network within Somalia, and disposal of explosives, among others.
George Owinow, deputy force commander for AMISOM in-charge of Support and Logistics, noted that mitigating the threat posed by IEDs required continuous training of Somali security forces and AMISOM personnel.
"The best weapon against IEDs is a well-trained soldier who practices correct drills, and maintains a conscious awareness of the environment," said Owinow.
Bob Slay, acting Commander of the British Forces in Somalia, said the IED environment in Somalia is complex and evolving and suggested response mechanisms must therefore evolve and adapt faster to address the threat posed by IEDs in Somalia.
UNMAS trains Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams during the mandatory pre-deployment training for African Union troops before they are deployed to Somalia.
The EOD training are done in Kenya and Uganda and will be rolled out to other AMISOM troop-contributing countries including Burundi, Djibouti, and Ethiopia.