Somalia hotel attack underlines need for supporting Somali army – UN envoy



MOGADISHU (SLpost) In the wake of the deadly complex attack on a Mogadishu hotel Sunday, the United Nations envoy to Somalia has called for more support to the Somali army which is struggling to contain the deadly guerilla war by the stubborn Al-Qaeda linked group with the help of the African Union force.


As the siege on the Sahafi hotel prolonged, Somali forces have ended stalemate, killing all attackers who were holed up in compound where they killed at least 15 people including a Somali legislator, former general and the owner of the hotel.

“Bloody attack in Mogadishu underlines the need to help Somali security forces & government counter-terrorism.” Nicholas Kay said in a Twitter post Sunday.

As the horn of Africa nation is recovering from decades of war, security challenges remain, with the Al-Qaeda linked militant group continues to carry out deadly attacks against the government and the African Union force.

Having deployed in Somalia in 2007, the outsourced African Union force has since been trying to oust Alshabab fighters from the areas still under their control, an attempt which despite relative success seems to be proving hard for the 21000-strong force.

Besides that, the large remuneration earned by the foreign forces has been a matter of controversy in Somalia, with many likened their welfare to that of the irregularly-paid Somali soldiers who sometimes go for months without their basic salaries.

“The disproportion of the two troops’ compensation is the main factor absorbing our army’s morale.” said Ahmed Hassan, a former Somali military general in Mogadishu.

“You can’t maintain security with hungry and unpaid soldiers services.” He said.

In addition, Somali army also faces logistical problems, a key challenge which at times forces the troops to seek help from the better-equipped AU peacekeepers, who often share personal rations and fuel with Somali soldiers with whom they fight side-by-side.

Elsewhere, a new report by the United Nations Monitoring group has alleged that Conflict of interest within the Somali army’s hierarchy and business ties between those responsible for ensuring the national army is provisioned, and the company providing its dry food rations — amounting to upwards of $8 million each year —hamper efforts to rebuild the army.

The lengthy report has also noted that impunity and misappropriation within the army has dented donor confidence in the Federal Government of Somalia, which it said has acknowledged the gravity of the situation.


Source: HOL