The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, has called for concerted efforts, to defeat the threat posed by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) to security forces and civilian populations in Somalia.
Ambassador Madeira made the remarks during the official opening of the fourth Bi-annual Counter IED Conference, in Mogadishu today.
The conference convened by AMISOM and supported by the UK government, seeks viable ways of building the capacity of AMISOM and Somali national security forces, to effectively counter terrorist group Al-Shabaab’s weapon of choice.
Madeira said the use of IEDs in Somalia presented a major threat to the country’s stabilization process and called for practical solutions to the problem.
“The best way to defeat IEDs is to have our politics right. If the politics is not right, no matter how much technology we put on the ground we may not succeed, and to have politics right, will require everyone to play his or her role,” Madeira remarked.
He urged the military, the police and the Federal government of Somalia to cooperate, in order to effectively counter the indiscriminate use of the improvised explosive devices.
He emphasized the importance of effective intelligence and information sharing and working closely with civilian populations to end the IED threat.
Colonel Richard Maundrell, the Commander of the British Forces in Somalia, echoed Madeira’s sentiments on increased collaboration between stakeholders and security agencies in the country to rid the country of the IED menace.
“To achieve this, information sharing and coordination across these levels and organizations will be critical. While it is important to prepare the force and defeat the device, the only way the counter IED battle can be won is through proactive operations against the IED system. This will focus on the perpetrators of IED activity,” said Col. Maundrell.
Using asymmetrical warfare, Al-Shabaab terrorists extensively engages in the use IEDs to kill and maim innocent civilians and security forces. AMISOM, the Federal Government of Somalia and development partners are currently working on strategies to counter the threat, to ensure gains made so far, in Somalia’s stabilization are not eroded.
The AMISOM Deputy Force Commander in Charge Support and Logistics Maj. Gen Salvator Harushimana expressed optimism that the two-day workshop will enable the participants to better appreciate the magnitude of the threat posed by IEDs and devise ways of countering the problem.