The use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDS) by the insurgent militant group Al-Shabaab poses one of the deadliest threats to peace and security in Somalia, military experts at a seminar in the capital Mogadishu said Tuesday.
IEDs have become the weapon of choice for Al-Shabaab militants who continue to inflict death and destruction on defenceless members of the public, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira said at a ceremony to open a three-day workshop.
Ambassador Madeira emphasized the need for the Somali National Security Forces, AMISOM and other stakeholders to partner, in the war on IEDs.
“We need to win the anti-IED war against Al-Shabaab to enable us keep the main supply routes open and keep the main urban centers and population in general working and thriving. The enemy is trying to prevent us entering and getting out of these urban centers and if we do not counter, governance will not take place in those centers,” SRCC Madeira who is also the head of Mission noted.
The workshop on countering IEDs, is being organized by the AMISOM Mission Enabling Unit, supported by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and funded by the United Kingdom Mission Support Team (UK MST). The workshop, attended by officials from AMISOM and the Somali Police Force (SPF), aims at raising awareness of the IED situation in Somalia and devising ways of countering its threat.
Alan Macdonald, the UNMAS Programme Director, expressed optimism that the workshop will deliver on its objectives given the talent, experience and knowledge of the participants attending the training.
“If we can capture this in the next couple of days, all the internal and external experience and mix it all together, then you will go away from here with enhanced knowledge and the knowledge of other people’s experience. I believe that in our mission in Somalia, there is the innate talent to get around this particular IED problem,” Mr Macdonald said.
Speaking at the same event, Maj. Steve Little from the UK MST, noted that IEDs present the biggest challenge to the stabilisation of Somalia and called for concerted efforts to counter the problem.
“We aim to work together with all partners, such as those here today from the EU and USA, in a coordinated and joined up fashion to meet the requirements set by AMISOM,” Maj. Little stated.
Maj. Raymond Kemei, a participant, said the training will boost the fight against the use of IEDs.