Mareeg.com-Mogadishu, 14 December 2013 – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia Nicholas Kay, visited Beledweyne, capital of the Hiraan region in his first visit to the central regions of Somalia.
Upon arrival SRSG Kay said: “I chose to come to Beledweyne on my first visit to south-central regions outside Mogadishu because Hiraan is at the heart of Somalia. What happens here can shape the future of Somalia.”
The Governor of Hiraan region, Abdi Farah Laqanyo welcomed SRSG Kay, briefed him on the challenges facing the region, especially security, and commended the work of the UN agencies.
SRSG Kay reiterated UNSOM and the UN family’s continuous support and announced his intention to open an UNSOM office in Beledweyne in 2014.
Kay further praised the role of AMISOM and especially the Djiboutian contingent. “The dedication and great humanity of the Djiboutian forces have helped save lives and build stability. AMISOM and the Somali National Forces trained by Djibouti have the determination and the skills to defeat the threat from Al Shabaab.”
Kay also visited the SNA military camp, Lamagalay, which is being rehabilitated thanks to the generosity of Djibouti and AMISOM.
Not far from the scene of two recent suicide bombings, Kay held an open-air public meeting with traditional elders and civil society, including women and youth groups to listen to their concerns. He heard a clear message about the need for better security and a wish to see the end of Al Shabaab.
Addressing the gathering, SRSG Kay stated: “This is the time for reconciliation and Somalis know how to do it. This is not the time for clan fighting. It is is the time to be strong and united against Al Shabaab to defeat them politically and militarily. Al Shabaab are your children and relatives. You must not allow your children to be misled. You have to show them the choice is between more years of conflict or a peaceful and prosperous Somalia.”
He ended by visiting a newly-opened rehabilitation centre for disengaged fighters where he interacted with the staff and residents. The young people were looking forward to learning useful trades. “I want to learn a skill, get a job and help my family,” explained one young man.
In a related visit on the same day, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Fatiha Serour, visited Baidoa to review plans for another rehabilitation centre to be set up there as well as to exchange views with local authorities, AMISOM, civil society and UN staff.