The United Kingdom has committed £7 million (Sh908 million) to fund the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) that is fighting jihadist group Al-Shabaab.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May, during her visit to South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya last month, said Somalia’s instability will have a knock-on effect on other nations.
“Somalia is at a critical juncture. And sustainable, predictable funding and support for the troops who are building stability in the region is vital to support a transition to Somali-led security, when the conditions for a handover are right,” Ms May said on August 31 in a press statement issued by the British High Commission in Uganda.
Ms May emphasised the importance of durable security, calling for combined efforts to end terrorism.
In Nairobi, she visited a UK-supported counter-improvised explosive devices centre where British troops train soldiers deployed under Amisom.
The soldiers are trained on how to identify and destroy home-made bombs.
UK’s Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said the UK is determined to promote security in Africa by building the capacity of its troops.
“From supporting counter-terrorist operations in Mali to improvised explosive device disposal training in Kenya, our armed forces are helping to build a more secure Africa. By tackling the terrorist threat abroad we are helping to keep our streets safe at home,” he said.
The UK also pledged another £60m to help more than one million conflicts and drought victims.
Regarding the status of Somalia, Ms May said access to potable water, medicine, food and jobs will help the citizens in the long term, and will also lower their dependence on humanitarian aid.
The UK also committed more than £25 million to support the country as it works to establish a stable and democratic political system.
According to its website, Amisom comprises troops from Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia who are deployed in six sectors covering south and central Somalia; headed by Lieutenant General Jim Beesigye Owoyesigire.
“Ugandan troops are deployed in Sector 1, which comprises the regions of Banadir and Lower Shabelle.
“Kenyan forces are responsible for Sector 2, comprising Lower and Middle Jubba. Sector 3 comprising Bay and Bakool as well as Gedo (Sub Sector 3) come under Ethiopian command.
“Djiboutian forces are in charge of Sector 4, which covers Hiiraan and Galgaduud, while Burundian forces are in charge of Sector 5, which covers the Middle Shabelle region,” the site says.
The force has been hit by various challenges including inadequate funds.
In 2016, the nations complained of delayed payment by the European Union.
Further, in January of the same year, the EU rolled back its contribution by 20 per cent, meaning it would give €20 million every month up to June 2016.
In September, African Union and the EU signed a deal to have the soldiers receive their allowances for the past nine months from the €178 million boost from the European bloc.
Amisom, established in 2007, requires about $300 million a month to run its operations.
Al-Shabaab militants have carried out a string of attacks in Somalia. The deadliest assault was conducted in October last year, which killed 358 people and injured 228.
The incident occurred after a truck packed with explosives blew up in Hodan on October 14, destroying at least 20 buildings in the bustling commercial district.
The attack drew worldwide condemnation, with President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed vowing to intensify the war against Al-Shabaab.
“If we don’t respond to this now, the time will surely come when pieces of flesh from all of us are being picked up off the ground. We need to stand up together and fight Al-Shabaab who continue massacring our people,” he said.
Source: Daily Nation