Sierra Express Media
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Sierra Leone’s multi-accredited emissary
to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Ambassador Andrew
Gbebay Bangali at the just concluded African Union Mission in Somalia
(AMISOM) Troop Contributing Countries’ Summit of Heads of State in
Kampala reiterated and registered His Excellency President Dr. Ernest
Bai Koroma’s (in photo) unflinching commitment in ensuring Sierra
Leonean troops not only serve diligently but return Somalia to normalcy.
The Summit which was themed: “Towards a
Harmonized Approach by the Stakeholders in Building a Peaceful Somalia,”
was chaired by His Excellency, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the
Republic of Uganda and it aimed at harmonizing the approach by the
stakeholders in building a peaceful Somalia.
Among the Heads of State who attended
the Summit were the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Chairman of the
African Union, His Excellency Hailemariam Desalegn; President Uhuru
Kenyatta of Kenya and President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia.
Other dignitaries that attended the
meeting included: Mr. Hassan Darar Houfaneh, Minister of Defence of
Djibouti; Mr. Gabriel Nizigama, Minister of Public Security of Burundi;
Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif, Special Representative of the
Chairperson of the African Union Commission and Head of Mission, AMISOM
who represented the Africa Union AU.
Ambassador Bangali who represented
President Koroma at the Summit said that the decision by the Government
to become a troop contributed country in Somalia was borne out of the
desire to effectively participate in bringing peace and stability to a
sister country that deserved better than what was being current visited
“Sierra Leone had gone through 11 years
of a very brutal and fratricidal war in which the most egregious
atrocities were committed and had been assisted by mainly African member
states to bring an end to its own crisis,” he recalled.
In the same spirit, he said, President
Koroma and his Government decided this time around to commit a battalion
of 850 soldiers to help stabilize Somalia, in addition to the Police
contingent that has been serving there.
After statements were delivered, the
Ministers made the following observations, the current AMISOM troop
levels 17,731 are not adequate to liberate and stabilize the entire
country; the governance structures in liberated areas are not being set
up thus hampering the operations of AMISOM; the Somali Federal
Government is facing challenges of equipping and rebuilding the national
security forces and emphasized the need to strengthen the coordination
between the national Security Council and AMISOM, among others.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the
meeting, the Summit reaffirmed its commitment, under the African Union
and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to ensure the
territorial integrity and sovereignty of Somalia. It commended the
achievements of AMISOM, Ethiopia and the Somalia National Security
Forces in restoring security and in degrading the capacity of
Al-Shabaab. It encouraged other African countries to contribute to the
stabilization effort in Somalia. It stressed that the fight against
Al-Shabaab should continue to be the major focus of the Federal
Government as well as regional and international partners, noting that
there was a deteriorating security situation in some areas. It condemned
recent Al- Shabaab terrorist activities resulting in the loss of
innocent civilian lives and destruction of property. It underlined that
the fight against Al Shabaab was the major focus of the Governments of
Troop Contributing Countries and regional and international partners. In
this regard, the leaders urged international stakeholders, partners and
all friends of Somalia to lend their support to the Federal Government
to realize its objectives.