MOGADISHU, Somalia, Feb 1- Horn of Africa leaders now want the international community to repeal the existing United Nations arms embargo in Somalia allowing President Hassan Mohamud led government better equip its military in the fight against terrorism.
In a communique issued Wednesday following the Heads of States Summit in Somalia, President William Ruto, his Djibouti counterpart Ismail Omar Guelleh and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the Somalia Federal Government had exhibited the ability to manage arms proliferation within their borders.
“Following deliberations, the Summit Commends the advancement made on developing capabilities in managing weapons and ammunitions regime and endorses Somalia’s quest to completely lift the arms embargo by the end of 2023,” he said.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) imposed an open-ended arms embargo on Somalia in January 1992 before it was partially amended in February 2007 to allow arms supplies to Somali Government Forces.
The leaders acknowledged the need to mobilize regional support for timely and decisive operations against the Al-Qaeda linked terrorist outfit saying a well-equipped security personnel are in a better position to fight the Shabaab militants.
“The Summit welcomes the request by the Somali Government to obtain both lethal and non-lethal support to equip the newly-generated Somali National Army (SNA) units and to enhance the firepower capabilities of current SNA operational units,” read the Communique in part.
They further called on the international partners to support Somalia’s stabilization efforts in the newly liberated areas to facilitate the federal government to enhance its service delivery and extend its authority.
The leaders emphasized the need to consolidate and build upon the existing Somali Transition Plan (STP)/Troop Contributing Countries (TCC) efforts in Somali and agreed to jointly plan and organize a robust operational campaign at the frontline states level targeting key strategic Al-Shabaab strongholds across south and central Somalia.
“The time-sensitive campaign will prevent any future infiltrating elements into the wider region,” they said.
The leaders also emphasized the importance of establishing a joint border security mechanism to eliminate cross-border terrorism activities and ensures legal passage of trade and movement.
Since taking office in May last year, President Hassan Mohamud has launched a major offensive against the Shabaab militants that has seen parts of Somalia retaken from the hands of the terrorists.