African Union top envoy in Somalia on Monday called for concerted efforts, to defeat the threat posed by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) to security forces and civilian populations in the Horn of African nation.
Francisco Madeira, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission (SRCC), told the opening of the fourth Bi-annual Counter IED Conference that the use of IEDs presented a major threat to the country’s stabilization process and called for practical solutions to the menace.
“The best way to defeat IEDs is to have our politics right. If the politics is not right, no matter how much technology we put on the ground we may not succeed, and to have politics right, will require everyone to play his or her role,” Madeira said in a statement released by the AU mission in Mogadishu.
He urged the military, the police and the government to cooperate, in order to effectively counter the indiscriminate use of the improvised explosive devices.
The conference organized by AMISOM seeks viable ways of building the capacity of AMISOM and Somali national security forces, to effectively counter terrorist group al-Shabab’s weapon of choice.
Madeira stressed the importance of effective intelligence and information sharing and working closely with civilian populations to end the IED threat.
The AU mission says al-Shabab terrorists have been using asymmetrical warfare to extensively engage in the use of IEDs to kill and maim innocent civilians and security forces.
Madeira said AMISOM, Somali government and development partners are currently working on strategies to counter the threat, to ensure gains made so far, in Somalia’s stabilization are not eroded.
Richard Maundrell, the Commander of the British Forces in Somalia, called for increased collaboration between stakeholders and security agencies in the country to rid the country of the IED menace.
“While it is important to prepare the force and defeat the device, the only way the counter IED battle can be won is through proactive operations against the IED system. This will focus on the perpetrators of IED activity,” he noted.
At least 3,000 civilians have been either killed or injured by IEDs in Somalia in the past three years, the UN Mine-Action Service (UNMAS), UN’s demining agency, said in early April. It said the year 2017 was the deadliest, in large part due to an IED attack on Oct. 14 in Mogadishu which killed more than 500 people and injured over 300 in twin bombings.