Wednesday, January 09, 2013
By ABDULKADIR KHALIF
Ugandan police officer serving as part of Amisom interacting with children during a foot patrol in Mogadishu. PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
An African Union delegation is in Mogadishu to review the AU peacekeeping force (Amisom) mandate in the country.
The six-member team, led by Mohamed Saleh Annatif, the special representative of the AU Commission for Somalia chairperson Mahamet Saleh Annadif, the six-member team arrived in Mogadishu on Tuesday.
So far, it has held talks with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon and several ministers and officials at Villa Somalia, the presidential residence in the Somali capital.
“The AU wants to review with us the mandate of the peacekeepers in Somalia,” said Abdikarim Hussein Guled, the minister for Interior Affairs and National Security.
The first unit of peacekeepers was deployed by Uganda to Somalia in 2007. Since then, Burundi, Kenya and Djibouti have sent troops in a bid to stabilise Somalia in the face of tough opposition from Al-Shabaab Islamist militants.
According to Mr Annatif, the review was prompted by last year's political development in Somalia where the country moved from a transitional administration to a permanent one.
He added that two teams drawn from the Somalis and Amisom will meet later in Addis Ababa before making relevant recommendations to the AU and the United Nations.
Meanwhile, Dr Augustine Mahiga, the UN secretary-seneral's special representative to Somalia, met with Somali President Mohamoud on Tuesday in Mogadishu.
The diplomat said that his mission was to explain to the Somali officials the new modalities of how the UN bodies will be working with the Somali government.
Without elaborating, Dr Mahiga emphasised that the UN will adopt a fresh approach to supporting the Horn of Africa country.