The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) should avoid being drawn into partisan politics, the 32nd Meeting of the Coordination Committee (MOCC) of the Troop and Police Contributing Countries (T/PCCs) has said.
On April 12, Somalia’s lower house of parliament voted to effectively extend the mandate of President Mohamed Abdullah Mohamed ‘Farmaajo’ and the federal government by two years.
Following this, clashes erupted in the capital Mogadishu between security forces of the government with rival groups.
“The current situation in Somalia is worrisome and deteriorating steadily, and [we] reiterate calls for trust and confidence-building measures and the resumption of broad-based, inclusive dialogue to generate consensus on the way forward,” said MOCC.
MOCC stressed that AMISOM should remain neutral vis-à-vis the various political factions and parties to effectively facilitate the demilitarisation of Mogadishu and its environs.
While stressing that AMISOM should remain neutral, it also requested action, stating that “AMISOM should undertake to prevent an eruption of violent conflict in and beyond Mogadishu – whilst ensuring AMISOM positions are protected and secured.”
The clashes in Mogadishu between security forces of the government and rival groups had caused a loss of life. “Somalia’s homeland security minister, Hassan Hundubey Jimale, expressed condolences to all victims but did not say how many people had been killed or wounded,” Al-Jazeera reported.
While not disclosing how many people had died, MOCC commended AMISOM and its T/PCCs for their sacrifices and continued vigilance and requested that the contingency plans developed by the Mission should be constantly revised to take into account the rapidly evolving situation.
MOCC said that the current crisis in Somalia is primarily political, even though it has grave ramifications for both the security situation and military operations.
It reiterated the need to resolve the current political crisis through effective political engagement and action, including the possible holding of a T/PCC Summit, to provide the necessary strategic guidance to AMISOM.
MOCC noted that the political crisis has serious implications for the implementation of both the Somali Transition Plan (STP) and UN Security Council Resolution 2568 (2021), especially in light of the fracturing of the Somali National Army along factional and clan lines.
In the meantime, local and international communities objecting to the president's bid to extend his term, seem to bear a result.
In his statement on April 27 regarding his readiness to return to the Lower House of Parliament to have the decisions of 12 February reversed, and to also return to the 17 September 2020 agreement as to the basis for the elections.
MOCC welcomed the president's stated initiation.
Ambassador Dina Mufti, Ethiopian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson in his bi-weekly press briefing on April 27, said that “what is going on in Somalia does have an impact on us [Ethiopia]. As neighboring nations, the crisis in Somalia will flood Ethiopia with migrants and that can create a problem”.
He added: “Peace and security are interrelated. We need Somalia's peace and hope that they will commence free elections.”
Somalia, known officially as the Federal Republic of Somalia, is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia to the west.
On a March 25 statement, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat urged national stakeholders to engage in a constructive dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues within the framework of the September 17, 2020 agreement and the February 16, 2021 Baidoa Technical Committee recommendations for the good of the country and of all Somalis.
The chairperson also reaffirmed the African Union’s commitment to continue supporting the people and Government of Somalia in their quest for an immediate organization of peaceful and transparent elections.
Somalia, which was plunged into war and chaos in 1991, has been struggling to re-establish the authority of the central government and rebuild the nation with the help of the international community. However, it seems like the war and chaos is not over yet.