A two-day conference on Improvised Explosive devices (IEDs), ended yesterday in Mogadishu, with a call to partners to help Somalia develop a capacity to tackle the potent threat.
The Bi-annual conference acknowledged that the indiscriminate use of IEDs by Al-Shabaab militants posed a major risk to the achievement of long-lasting peace and stability in the Horn of Africa country and emphasized efforts that will decisively tackle the problem.
Speaking at the conference, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, hailed the partners for their continued support and commitment to capacitating AMISOM personnel on how to deal with the threat of IEDs to security forces and the civilian populations.
Ambassador Madeira expressed gratitude to partners, whom he said had committed their knowledge and resources to ensure the AU troops master the techniques to counter IEDs.
"We need this commitment and solidarity to continue until we are able to say that Mogadishu is really safe and dependable. That the MSRs (Main Supply Routes) linking Mogadishu-Beletweyne; Mogadishu-Baidoa; Mogadishu -Barawe; Dhobley, Afamadow and Kismayo, Kansuma Bridge, are all passable, safe and free of IEDs," said Madeira.
On October 14 last year, a truck packed with explosives killed more than 500 people in Mogadishu and left hundreds more injured in Somalia's most devastating attack. The attack was masterminded by Al-Shabaab militants.
In his remarks, the AMISOM Deputy Force Commander in Charge of Support and Logistics, Maj. Gen. Salvator Harushimana, called for greater collaboration between stakeholders in order to find a lasting solution to the IED problem.
"I want to urge continued coordination between all stakeholders -UNMAS (United Nations Mine Action Service), G2 AMISOM; G3 AMISOM, Counter IED fusion cell; all sector Counter IED teams and identified partners, to work together so that the threat posed by IEDs can be completely degraded," Maj. Gen. Harushimana stated.
The conference resolved among others to encourage the use of forensics and intensify training of personnel to help counter the threat posed by IEDs.
The Bi-annual conference was organized by AMISOM with the support of the United Kingdom. It brought together key stakeholders who included senior officials from Somali security institutions, AMISOM and International partners.