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UN extends partial lifting of arms embargo on Somalia

By International Desk , Garowe Online
Somali government soldiers trained by the European Union Training Mission in Uganda Photo: Reuters

NEW YORK, USA - United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Friday, November 15, 2019 voted to renew partial lifting of the arms embargo on Somalia for one more year, it has emerged, Garowe Online reports.

The UN has been regulating the trading of arms in Somalia, a country that has struggled to instill law and order, three decades after the assassination of Siad Barre.

But the UNSC imposed another ban on chemicals used for making Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) which are synonymous with Al-Shabaab militants.

The 15-member council voted 12-0 in favor of Resolution 2498 that enabled the decisions, with China, Russia, and Equatorial Guinea abstaining.

Until Nov. 15, 2020, the arms embargo on Somalia shall not apply to deliveries of weapons and military equipment "intended solely for the development of the Somali National Security Forces or Somalia security sector institutions," the resolution said.

The resolution reaffirmed the longstanding exception to the arms embargo for the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the European Union Training Mission (EUTM) in Somalia as well as humanitarian operations.

Should the FGS need certain sophisticated weapons, the council said, it must, however, seek formal approval from the UNSC.

"Deliveries of such chemicals "more generally" need prior notification to the monitoring committee, the council ruled after a lengthy meeting.

United Nations imposed an arms embargo on Somalia in 1992, a move that largely focused on regulating weapons due to lawlessness that was witnessed at the time.

In February 2007, the council limited the embargo to non-state actors, allowing arms supplies to Somali government forces.

UN has been training Somali National Army (SNA) on countering Al-Shabaab militants, with contributing nations expected to strategically withdraw by 2021.

The United Nations Security Council added ingredients for home-made explosive devices that are increasingly being used by the Al-Shabaab militant group to an arms embargo on Somalia Friday.

Despite the Al-Shabaab threat and ISIS-Somalia advances in Puntland, Somalia is progressively transforming, thanks to the collaboration between the international community and FGS.

Al-Shabaab militants, although almost degraded, have been waging onslaught against SNA and other allied forces, mostly by using IEDs.

The group was driven out of Somalia by Ethiopian Defense Forces backed with SNA and have since lost Kismayo, their commercial capital to Kenya Defense Forces.

Security Council also voted to impose a ban on charcoal trade, a key revenue for the militants in the past years. Charcoal trade financed most of Al-Shabaab activities.

But a report by the UN Panel of Experts on Monday said the Al-Shabaab militants have abandoned illegal charcoal trade, resorting to mafia-style taxation for sustainability.

The group is also said to have been taking advantage of inaccessibility to certain regions to provide basic services to the civilians, further derailing efforts to completely vanquish it.


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