AU condemns Al-Shabaab’s terror attack in Baidoa

MOGADISHU. — The Africa Union yesterday condemned a terror attack by Al-Shabaab militants in Baidoa town in which 30 civilians were killed and 42 others injured on Sunday evening.

The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia Ambassador Francisco Caetano Madeira has strongly condemned the terror attack.

“I am saddened by the loss of innocent lives through acts of terror committed by ruthless individuals who have no value for life,” Madeira said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

The AU envoy said the pan-African body’s forces AMISOM working in-conjunction with the Somali National Security Forces and other partners have renewed efforts to degrade and neutralise this terror organisation.

“This objective is being pursued with the determination and commitment it deserves,” he added.

The terror attack occurred in a busy street in Baidoa town, in the south-central Bay region of Somalia.

Al-Shabaab, which has links to Al-Qaeda, carries out frequent attacks in Somalia, often targeting government officials and AU troops.

The Islamist militant group controlled most of southern Somalia as recently as 2010 but was pushed into the countryside by AU and the Somali government forces.

The attack came a few hours after African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) summit held in Djibouti on Sunday called for increased funding to military operations in Somalia.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said for AMISOM to achieve the strategic objective of stabilising the country, there is need to increase the forces’ land, air and maritime capabilities and equipment.

The Heads of State and Government Summit of countries contributing troops and police to AMISOM agreed that AMISOM lacks the requisite force multipliers to effectively deliver on its mandate. Other challenges facing AMISOM include recommendations by the Joint AU-UN benchmarking exercise conducted on April 14-25 to replace military forces with Police Formed Units.

Kenyatta shared Kenya’s own internal review that points to the need for a surge of both military and police units within the shortest time possible, preferably before the 2016 election in Somalia.

The African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui said aggressive operations against Al-Shabaab militants must be fast-tracked and thanked the troop contributing countries for their commitment, saying their efforts are not in vain.

“We need to promote mobility of AMISOM forces. This will increase pressure on Al-Shabaab militants and strengthen the Government of Somalia,” Chergui. — Xinhua.

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