UN security council urged to lift arms embargo on Somalia


MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia seized the opportunity to ask for support from regional states in her bid to have the arms embargo lifted by the United Nations [UN] as leaders from the frontline nations convened in Mogadishu on Wednesday to take stock of gains made in the fight against Al-Shabaab which has gathered momentum.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud asked his colleagues Ismail Omar Guelleh [Djibouti], William Ruto [Kenya] and Abiy Ahmed [Ethiopia] to back Somalia's resolutions to have the arms embargo lifted for the sake of an efficient fight against Al-Shabaab militants.

This, the leaders said, is to ensure the newly-generated Somalia National Army units are properly equipped and to enhance the firepower capabilities of the operational units. They supported the country's bid to have the ban lifted with Somalia targeting to return to the global market by the end of this year.

Somalia has already made huge strides in the fight against Al-Shabaab, seizing several strategic towns in the process according to military sources. So far, close to 500 militants have been killed across the country in the last six months, police said.

While terming the fight against violent extremists a "collective" duty, Ruto said the region must adopt a common strategy for combating terrorism and associated criminality, noting that through common endeavour, leaders have the power to rebuild stable societies and secure the people’s well-being.

“We must dismantle terror networks and financial support infrastructure; this must be complemented by countering radicalisation and the propagation of extremism,” the President said.

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud hailed Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti for their commitment to assisting local forces to handle the militants. The UN Security Council extended Somalia's ban on the importation of weapons for another year according to reports.

"This summit reaffirms our resolve to rid our region of terrorism permanently," Ruto said.

“Effective weapons and ammunition management will reduce the ability of al Shabaab and other actors intent on undermining peace and security in Somalia and the region to obtain weapons and ammunition, and reduce the threat to peace and security posed by terrorists, in Somalia and neighbouring states,” UNSC said.

The UN slapped the country with the ban after it emerged that Al-Shabaab was importing sophisticated weapons from abroad, further promoting violent extremism in the country. It is believed that Al-Shabaab acquires most weapons and ammunition from war-torn Yemen.


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