Africa: Somalia, AU Unveil Guidelines On the Management of Recovered Weapons

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) on Wednesday, February 17, unveiled detailed guidelines and procedures for the management of stockpiles of seized weapons.

The guidelines contained in a document titled, Harmonized AMISOM/FGS Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on the Management of Recovered Small Arms and Light Weapons, was jointly developed by the Federal Government of Somalia and AMISOM.

"The harmonized SOPs were developed to provide guidance on the processes and procedures that are required to guide the FGS and AMISOM in our efforts to ensure effective management of recovered small arms and light weapons at the tactical, operational and strategic levels.

This is also in line with efforts of the Somali Government to enhance its processes and management of small arms and light weapons," said the Head of AMISOM and SRCC, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, at the launch in Mogadishu.

Ambassador Madeira noted that the need to come up with guidelines was informed by earlier challenges faced by both AMISOM and the FGS on the need for a coordinated approach to better manage stockpiles of seized weapons, and also to prevent them from falling into the hands of enemy combatants.

"The collection of these weapons ensures that our troops--both AMISOM and SNA--are not harmed by these weapons when we collect them, yet they go back to the hands of the enemy. Faced with these facts, the Federal Government of Somalia and AMISOM will continue to work jointly on preventing recovered weapons from reaching the wrong hands," he said.

The document is a culmination of months of hard work in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2444 (2018) which called on the Federal Government of Somalia, Federal Member States and AMISOM to document and register all military equipment captured as part of offensive operations or in the course of carrying out their mandates.

Speaking at the launch via video conference, Somalia's National Security Advisor, Abdisaid M. Ali, emphasized that the effective management of small arms and light weapons has implications for Somalia and regional peace and stability.

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"The proper management of recovered weapons, especially through this harmonized SOP will ensure that we have transparency on how to integrate the national stockpiles on everything that is happening, especially on weapons and arms management.

This will help strengthen the capacity of the security sector," Abdisaid M Ali explained.

"I encourage all of you to join us in endorsing the harmonized SOPs and also in sensitizing all government and AMISOM security sector commanders and other actors" he added.

The SOPs cover management of recovered weapons, ammunition, explosives, materials and/or equipment that could be used to manufacture Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) or other materials of particular concern to AMISOM, national authorities both at the government and federal member states levels and international partners.

Also outlined in the SOPs are the roles, responsibilities and procedures of both the FGS and AMISOM leadership as well as the military and police components in handling weapons recovered during operations, for purposes of data collection and record keeping, storage and security, as well as transportation and disposal.

Held virtually, the event was attended by the Deputy AMISOM Force Commander in charge Support and Logistics, Maj.Gen. Gerbi Kebede Regassa; AMISOM Police Commissioner, Assistant Inspector General of Police, Augustine Magnus Kailie, senior FGS officials and other top UN and AMISOM officials.

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