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Uhuru seeks urgent deployment of AMISOM troops to Gedo region

Storyline:National News

President Uhuru Kenyatta is urging for the immediate deployment of AMISOM troops to Somalia’s Gedo region.

Speaking at a summit in Djibouti for AMISOM contributing countries Sunday, he said the absence of troops in the region was a cause of serious concern to Kenya.

“This region has now become a safe haven for Al-Shabaab and a launching pad for attacks against our troops and people along our common border with Somalia… as a matter of urgency, AMISOM must quickly deploy troops in Gedo region,” he urged.

He recalled the recent attack of Kenyan troops in El Adde, saying it was “a test on our commitment to fight terrorism”

“The attack was unprecedented in scale and impact, demonstrating a changing pattern of planning and execution by the Al Shabaab and their allies, operating in the territory of Somalia,” he said.

President Uhuru pointed out that the mission in Somalia has immense political and security successes by considerably degrading the capability of Al-Shabaab through liberation of large areas previously held by the group.

He cautioned that even as the gains are celebrated, complacency must not be allowed to set in.

“We must jealously guard against attempts to roll back our successes and act decisively in addressing any challenges that may impede AMISOM from delivering its mandate.”

He pointed out challenges that may impede AMISOM’s pursuits such as failure to adequately cover areas liberated with Somali security apparatus.

“AMISOM forces are forced to maintain fixed posture and therefore restrict their ability to liberate more areas consequently allowing Al-Shabaab to control swathes of ungoverned spaces.”

He said AMISOM requires robust land, air and maritime capabilities and assets to enhance its mission.

“AMISOM is severely incapacitated in both air and maritime components and lacks the requisite force multipliers to effectively deliver on its mandate. Twelve military helicopters authorized by the UN Security Council in 2012 have not been deployed,” President Kenyatta recalled.

He also singled out financial challenges which threaten the effectiveness of the mission.

“The recent decision by the European Union to effect a 20 percent reduction of funding to AMISOM is just a manifestation of this difficulty.”

“This is the time to strengthen AMISOM through a surge in troops and resources, and not weaken it.”

“I call on this meeting to totally reject any suggestion that insinuates that the African Union should pay for AMISOM. At the minimum, the continent should demand that AMISOM’s funding be drawn from the UN assessed contributions,” President Kenyatta told the summit.

AMISOM – created January 19, 2007 by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council – is a regional peacekeeping mission operated by the African Union with the approval of the United Nations.

The AMISOM troop contributing countries are Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda, Burundi and Ethiopia.

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