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Somalia, UN seek action to tackle explosive hazards

Storyline:National News, Security

Somalia and the UN have called for concerted efforts to help the government eliminate threats posed by the increasing use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the Horn of the African nation.

Mohamud Mohamed, minister for internal security, called on stakeholders and the mine action community to support the government’s implementation of a national plan to eradicate explosive hazards.

“We are dedicated through SEMA (Somalia Explosive Management Authority) to double our efforts to provide safety, preserve dignity, observe the human rights of every Somali and protect them from the threats of explosive hazards and landmines,” he stated, according to a statement issued by the UN mission in Somalia (UNSOM) on Thursday evening.

Mohamed was speaking during the celebrations in Mogadishu to mark the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

The event, which was attended by government officials and the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), provided some worrying statistics about the IEDs menace.

“The numerous deadly IED incidents in highly populated areas is an obvious tragic reminder of the harshness of the threat that we face,” said Abdulkadir Abdulle Hooshow, SEMA director-general.

SEMA was established in 2013 to spearhead the government’s efforts to rid the country of landmines, unexploded ordnance and other explosive hazards.

According to statistics from UNMAS program in Somalia, civilians account for 44 per cent of the number of fatalities caused by IEDs and 53 per cent of all injuries.

Hooshow said Somalia will continue to enhance the protection of civilians through the sharing of information that can deter future IED attacks.

He also reaffirmed the country’s determination to bolster national capabilities to counter that threat in a sustainable manner.

According to UNMAS, 37 locations contaminated by explosive hazards were identified in Somalia during 2018. More than 1,400 explosive remnants of war were destroyed last year.