News from Africa

Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the situation in Somalia

African Union

Té / 16 January 2013

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)


1. At its 337th meeting, held on 11 October 2012, Council, following a briefing by the Commission on the lastest developments in Somalia, adopted a press statement, in which it noted with satisfaction the remarkable progress made in the quest for peace, security and reconciliation in the country. Council urged the Somali stakeholders to remain steadfast in their efforts. It also underlined the need for the international community to remain actively engaged and to extend greater support to Somalia on the basis of the priorities defined by the Somali Government.

2. The present report provides a brief update on the main political and security developments in Somalia during the period under review. It also covers the activities undertaken by the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in pursuit of its mandate, and concludes with observations on the way forward.


3. As Council is aware, Somalia entered into a new political dispensation when, in September 2012, through a credible, but arduous democratic process, the new Federal Parliament elected a new President, thereby constitutionally ending the eight years of transitional arrangements that were established with the adoption of the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC), in 2004, and the complimentary August 2008 Djibouti process. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was formally inaugurated in Mogadishu, on 16 September 2012. Thereafter, he outlined the six (6) immediate priorities of his Government, namely security, national reconciliation, social service delivery, public financial management, economic development, as well as justice. He also stressed that he would reach out to armed opposition groups, and continue dialogue with Somaliland. On 6 October 2012, he nominated Abdi Farah Shirdon “Saacid” as Prime Minister. The Prime Minister and his Cabinet were endorsed by the Parliament, on 13 November 2012. Since then, the Somali authorities have taken a number of steps in implementation of the priorities they have outlined.

4. In November 2012, the Federal Parliament completed and adopted a 4-year strategic plan, including its internal working regulations. It also established 15 parliamentary committees with elected chairpersons, vice-chairpersons and secretaries. The parliamentary committees, three of which are chaired by female parliamentarians, will go a long way in improving the effectiveness of the Parliament in discharging its legislative and oversight functions. Furthermore, the Parliament has identified eleven projects aimed at enhancing its capacity, including the establishment of a functional Secretariat. It has outlined its legislative agenda, which has been shared with the Government. This includes a number of priority legislations, together with their timelines, that the Federal Government has to table before the Parliament in accordance with the Provisional Federal Constitution. Furthermore, some articles in the Provisional Federal Constitution have been suspended, notably the establishment of an Upper House, a political development which is being contested by Puntland.

5. On 13 December 2012, the Prime Minister, in consultation with the President, Members of the Parliament and representatives of the Somalia civil society, appointed five Ministers of State and twenty Deputy Ministers. This was in response to concerns that the Cabinet was not inclusive.

6. The new Government is taking concrete steps to revitalize or establish governance institutions, and appoint the required leadership to administer them. Consequently, the leadership and management of financial institutions, such as the Central Bank, the Office of the Accountant-General and the Office of the Auditor-General, are being restructured in line with the six-pillar policy of the Government. A similar process is underway for other institutions. The Government is now tightening its oversight and control on public revenue generation and expenditure, in order to enhance transparency and accountability. Further reorganization is also expected in the civil service to bring on board the required Permanent Secretaries, Directors-General, Directors and Ambassadors in the Foreign Service.

7. The Government has started to work with the existing interim regional administrations in South Central Somalia. Specifically, it is facilitating a Reconciliation Conference that will bring together the elders, leaders and intellectuals from six regions, namely Lower Jubba, Middle Jubba, Bay, Bakool, Gedo and Lower Shabelle. The Conference is expected to agree on modalities for the establishment of local, regional and state administrations, using a bottom-up approach.

8. On 6 December 2012, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Joint Committee on Grand Stabilization of South Central Somalia met in Addis Ababa, to enhance coordination and review membership of the Committee. At the end of the meeting, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was adopted expanding the membership of the Committee (that initially comprised Jubbaland, Kenya and Ethiopia) to include the Federal Government of Somalia, which is now to serve as the Chair of the Committee. Following the adoption of that MoU, a high level delegation from the Government visited Kismayo in December 2012 for a meeting with the interim administration. The two sides agreed to form a new administration based on the country’s Constitution, and discussed the integration of Ras Kamboni brigade into the Somalia National Security Forces (SNSF).

9. Considerable efforts have been made to reach out to Somalia’s neighbours and strengthen the country’s bilateral and multilateral relations. In this respect, President Mohamud paid working visits to all the member states of IGAD. Outside the region, President Mohamud has also visited Turkey. On her part, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Fawzia Aden, visited London, where she was received by the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, and discussed the planned London Conference on Somalia to be held in May 2013.


10. The security situation has continued to improve, thanks to the sustained efforts of the SNSF and AMISOM. During the reporting period, the SNSF and AMISOM further expanded their areas of control. However, a number of challenges remain, which require continued efforts and enhanced support to free the rest of the country from Al Shabaab control.

11. In Sector 1 (Banadir, Lower and Middle Shabelle), the SNSF and AMISOM forces secured the town of Jowhar, 90 kilometers north-west of Mogadishu, on 9 December 2012. The town, which is also the capital of Middle Shabelle, served as a major base for Al Shabaab since it was pushed out of other areas in South Central Somalia.

12. Significant progress has also been made in Sector 2 (Lower and Middle Juba) during the reporting period. The SNSF and AMISOM forces continued to consolidate security in and around Kismayo, where they have deprived Al Shabaab of revenue from seaport taxation, custom duties and smuggling of contraband, notably the charcoal and sugar import and export. In November 2012, the SNSF and AMISOM forces secured the town of Bulo Xaji, a critical supply route. Preparations are underway to expand the operations of the SNSF and AMISOM forces to Jilib and Jamame.

13. In Sector 3 (Gedo, Bay and Bakool), the existing AMISOM’s 1,050 troops will be joined by an additional 1,500 troops, who are now advancing from Afgoye to Baidoa, with the aim of connecting the Middle and Lower Shabelle regions to the Bay and Bakool regions. At the time of finalising this report, these forces had moved beyond Lego village, which is situated 104 kilometres from Baidoa.

14. In Sector 4 (Galgadud and Hiraan), Djiboutian troops have now fully deployed. AMISOM forces, with the support of the SNSF and the Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF), continue to consolidate security in key towns and villages. This is a critical area as it is being used by Al Shabaab as a transit route towards Puntland and other northern parts of the country.

15. The AMISOM Formed Police Units (FPUs), together with the Somalia Police Force (SPF), are now conducting 24 hour patrol in Mogadishu. The FPUs are also providing VIP escorts and protection to AMISOM personnel, as well as increasingly taking responsibility for security during major public functions. In addition to contributing to relieving the AMISOM forces from performing policing activities, such as escorts and public order duties, the FPUs are also helping to restore public confidence and security in Mogadishu. On their part, the Individual Police Officers (IPOs) are continuing to mentor and advise their SPF counterparts. Thanks to the escort and security provided by the FPUs, the IPOs are now able to reach out to more police stations, thus enhancing their mentoring and advisory functions to the SPF.

16. Although the combined SNSF and AMISOM operations have created tangible security gains and have significantly weakened Al Shabaab, the extremist group continues to pose a major threat and still retains the ability to strike, especially through Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), targeted assassinations and suicide attacks. Al Shabaab has melted into the local communities and relocated much of its manpower and equipment to areas such as Middle Jubba, Baraawe in Lower Shabelle, the northern parts of Middle Shabelle, parts of the Bakool region, Bulo-Burte in Hiraan, Galgadud regions and Golis Mountain (Puntland), where the SNSF and allied militia have a limited presence. They have also established a presence in some parts of Somaliland, and continue to access weapons and other logistics through the seaports of Baraawe, Ceel Dheer, Cadale and Haradhere.

17. Al Shabaab skilfully exploits clan differences in an effort to boost its ranks. It is also resorting to methods such as extortion of businesses, establishment of illegal checkpoints and increased linkages with criminal networks, to fund its operations. While there have been so far no clear linkages between pirates and Al Shabaab, there are concerns that this may change as Al Shabaab, moves into the piracy heartlands, such as Haradhere and the sea ports of Hobiyo, Ceel Dheer and Cadale, as it becomes more financially desperate.

18. Al Shabaab enjoys the support of a core group of around 400 foreign fighters that move around Somalia and provide mentorship to its fighters and extremist jihadist from the region and beyond. There are indications that Al Shabaab has intensified its outreach in the region, attempting to establish links with local extremists groups. It continues to recruit fighters in the neighbouring countries, train them and facilitate the return of those who want to wage war against their homeland as demonstrated by the recent spate of attacks in Kenya, the arrest, on 7 December 2012, in Sudan’s Al-Dandar Wildlife Park, in the central state of Sennar, of 25 Islamist extremists, who were training with a view to joining Al Shabaab, and Ethiopia’s arrest, on 1 January 2013, of 15 suspected militants trained by Al Shabaab, who were plotting attacks.


19. With the full deployment of the Djiboutian contingent in Sector 4 (Beltweyne), which was completed at the end of November 2012, the strength of AMISOM uniformed personnel stands now at 17,709. This comprises 5,432 troops from Burundi, 960 troops from Djibouti, 4,652 troops from Kenya, and 6,223 troops from Uganda. The Sierra Leone battalion of 850 is now due to deploy in February-March 2013, after which Kenya will reduce its contribution by one battalion. There are 81 Staff Officers from Burundi, Cameroon, Djibouti, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia. There are also 81 IPOs from Burundi, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe, as well as 2 FPUs of 140 police elements each from Nigeria and Uganda.

20. On 1 November 2012, I appointed a new Special Representative for Somalia and Head of AMISOM, in the person of Ambassador Mahamat Salah Annadif, from Chad. A former AU Representative to the European Union (EU), in Brussels, Ambassador Annadif has an extensive diplomatic and public service experience, having, in particular, served as his country’s Foreign Minister. He replaced my previous Special Representative for Somalia, Ambassador Boubacar Gaoussou Diarra. Ambassador Annadif assumed duty in Mogadishu on 12 December 2012.

21. In resolution 2073 (2012) adopted on 7 November 2012, the UN Security Council decided, on an exceptional basis and owing to the unique character of the Mission, to extend the UN logistical support package for AMISOM civilian personnel for a further 50 civilian personnel, on a temporary basis to be reviewed after the UN and AU strategic reviews. As a follow-up, the Commission has developed a Concept Paper for the deployment of 50 civilians who will be deployed in the 4 Sectors in support of the on-going AMISOM operations. These civilians will also work with local government officials and community groups in the recovered areas, to facilitate the extension of state authority, by ensuring effective linkage with the Government in Mogadishu, and the provision of basic services to the population, especially through the implementation of Quick Impact Projects (QIPs). They will also perform other key functions, including support to local reconciliation, promotion of human rights, and support initial steps regarding security sector reform, including the management of disengaged fighters.

22. The Commission has commenced the recruitment process for these posts. The Commission is also considering the possibility of utilizing available rosters to identify and facilitate speedy recruitment and deployment of the required personnel. At the same time, the Commission has requested UNSOA to put in place the required logistical arrangements to facilitate the deployment of civilian presence in all Sectors.

23. At its 337th meeting, Council requested the UN Security Council to authorize a four-month technical rollover of the UN support package, as provided for by resolution 2036 (2012) of 22 February 2012, with the inclusion of additional support regarding the civilian and maritime components of the mission, to take into account urgent needs arising from the realities on the ground. Such a technical rollover was to be granted pending the completion of the AMISOM Strategic Review, which is addressed below.

24. On 31 October 2012, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 2072 (2012), through which it extended the mandate of AMISOM until 7 November 2012, noting the exceptional circumstances in New York City arising from Hurricane Sandy” and recognizing, in those exceptional circumstances the need for a short extension of the mandate of AMISOM. On 7 November 2012, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 2073 (2012), authorizing the member states of the AU to maintain the deployment of AMISOM until 7 March 2013. It also requested the UN Secretary-General to continue to provide logistical support package of AMISOM, as referred to in its relevant resolutions.


25. During the reporting period, AMISOM components (substantive civilian, police and military) undertook a number of activities in support of the Federal Government of Somalia. These cover stabilisation and governance in the liberated areas, gender issues, the management of disengaged fighters, support to the SNSF and capacity building for Somalia civil service.

Support to Stabilization and Governance in the Liberated Areas

26. Further to the IGAD efforts in support to the stabilization of areas recovered from Al Shabaab, the Government, in collaboration with AMISOM, organized a workshop on the theme “Getting the Stabilization Programme Forward”, from 12 to 13 December 2012, at the AMISOM Headquarters, in Mogadishu. The workshop was attended by senior government officials, including the Office of the President, the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Internal Security.

27. The workshop resolved that the Government would set the priorities for the recently-liberated areas, which will include the consolidation of security, local reconciliation and the provision of basic services. On its part, AMISOM pledged to support the Government to extend its authority in all the newly-recovered areas, to provide peace dividends, through the implementation of QIPs, and to facilitate access to humanitarian assistance in coordination with the Government.

Support to the Female Caucus of the Federal Parliament

28. During the reporting period, the AMISOM Gender Unit undertook activities aimed at enhancing the role of women in the new political dispensation and to advance gender issues in the implementation of the mandate of AMISOM. In this respect, the Unit organized a televised and radio broadcast debate in Mogadishu, on 12 November 2012, on how to empower Somalia women across the country and how they can better engage elders and politicians. The event, which brought together elders, academicians, female activists and parliamentarians, as well as religious leaders, discussed the role of women in politics and in the post-conflict period. The meeting also discussed challenges such as the lack of education and the misuse of religion and radicalization.

29. In December 2012, the AMISOM Gender Unit also convened a Needs Assessment Workshop for female members of the Federal Parliament, in Kampala,. The workshop, attended by female parliamentarians, from countries of the region, was used to assess the needs of the female parliamentarians, while also providing a networking opportunity between them and their counterparts from the region. It also provided a platform for experience sharing and lessons learnt. On that basis, the workshop agreed on the formation of a Caucus to implement an Action Plan to promote women agenda, starting with gender mainstreaming of all future legislations, including those relating to governance and stabilization in Somalia.

30. The AMISOM Gender Unit is engaged with relevant partners, such as the UNAIDS and UNFPA. The objective is to explore the possibility of partnership and coordination on matters of priority relevant to their respective mandates and jurisdictions in Mogadishu and in the newly-recovered areas.

Support for the Management of Disengaged Fighters

31. Somalia and AMISOM continue to be confronted with several caseloads of disengaged fighters. AMISOM is currently holding 249 Voluntary Disengaged Fighters (VDF) in Mogadishu, while the Federal Government is holding an estimated 1,500 former fighters. Most of those held by the Government were either captured or arrested by the SNSF or by AMISOM. The VDF held by AMISOM are persons who have defected from Al Shabaab for various reasons. There are also a large number of defections that have not been recorded, because some of the fighters were previously members of clan militias and have now melted back into their clans. This group is of particular concern because, if given monetary incentives, they can be remobilized by Al Shabaab.

32. In an effort to build the capacity of the Government to manage the disengaged fighters, AMISOM, in collaboration with the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) and other partners, organized a training session for AMISOM and SNSF commanders, in Nairobi, from 4 to 6 December 2012. The training focused on how to handle disengaging fighters, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), human rights and child rights, among others. The Government and AMISOM are also working together on appropriate programmes that would present more sustainable and durable solutions for managing those defectors who have returned to their clan militias.

Support to the Somalia National Security Forces

33. It is to be recalled that before the end of the Transition, the Commission organized a series of workshops on the Somalia Security Sector Empowerment that led to the development of a concept of operations for the mechanism to be put in place in order to facilitate the effective integration of the regional and allied forces into the SNSF and the establishment of a unified command and control architecture. The document has since been submitted to the new Somalia authorities for review, update and endorsement before it is submitted to Council and subsequently to the UN Security Council. It is my expectation that the international community will provide the required support, for this is critical to the achievement of sustainable peace and stability in Somalia.

34. Somalia’s Armed Forces currently consist of senior officers in need of refresher training, and a large number of new recruits with limited or no training at all in IHL. As part of its efforts aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the SNSF, AMISOM, working in close collaboration with the Government and supported by the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), convened a workshop on IHL for 41 officers, in Djibouti, from 29 to 31 October 2012. The workshop provided an opportunity to demonstrate the importance and relevance of IHL and human rights; promoted understanding of IHL, in particular the essential rules of the law that are relevant to the Officers’ operational functions; and identified gaps and challenges to compliance with IHL in the context of the conflict in Somalia

35. At the end of the workshop, participants adopted a plan of action, which includes an implementation strategy to ensure compliance, by the SNSF, with IHL. Follow-up activities were also agreed upon, including the conduct of similar training at all appropriate command and staff levels; the conduct of Training of Trainers (ToT) workshops on IHL; the development of relevant policy and necessary law reforms; the establishment of an IHL commission; parliamentary ratification of the Additional Protocols of the Geneva Convention and the Convention of the Rights of the Child as committed in its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Report of 2012; and the strengthening of the rule of law institutions, including the military courts system.

36. Between December 2012 and January 2013, AMISOM trained 80 SPF Officers in criminal investigation. The training, which took place at the General Kahiye Police Academy, in Mogadishu, will be extended to an additional 80 police officers.

37. Furthermore, AMISOM Police, in collaboration with the Djibouti National Police and the Italian Carabinieri, will launch, starting from 17 January 2013, a training programme for 200 personnel from the SPF on public order management, at the Djibouti National Police Academy. The course will go a long way in building the capacity of the SPF in the maintenance of law and order. I pay tribute to the Djiboutian and Italian Governments for their support in facilitating the development and conduct of this training programme.

Capacity building for the Somalia civil service

38. In January 2013, AMISOM launched a series of training workshops for the Somalia civil service. The training involved 120 public servants, including Secretaries, protocol officers and senior level administrators. It is funded by the Government of Italy and facilitated by the University of South Africa (UNISA) Graduate School of Business Leadership. This activity is part of the implementation of the plan of action agreed upon between the Somalia Government and the AU following a needs assessment workshop held in Kampala, in March 2012. Since then, AMISOM has carried out a number of capacity building activities, including facilitating two-week of on-the-job training and mentorship in Uganda, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Liberia, providing requisite working tools/equipment and renovating office spaces.


39. At its 337th meeting, Council expressed full support to the decision of the Commission to undertake a strategic review of AMISOM and the implementation of its mandate, with a view to determining how best the Mission can further contribute to the stabilization of Somalia and the successful implementation of the priorities set by the Somali Government, in close coordination with an empowered and restructured Somali National Defense and Security Sector. The decision to undertake the review was made against the background of the significant political and security progress achieved in Somalia over the past months and the need accordingly to adjust the operations of AMISOM.

40. The review process was launched in December 2012 and is beingcarried out by a team of experienced civilian, military and police officers. The exercise has involved extensive consultations with the Somali authorities and other stakeholders. Consultations have also been carried out with the AMISOM Troop and Police Contributing Countries (TCCs and PCCs), other interested countries and IGAD, as well as with international partners. The process will be completed at the end of January 2013 and the outcome submitted to Council for its action as appropriate.

41. In undertaking the review, the Commission was mindful of the need to closely coordinate its efforts with the United Nations, as the latter is also carrying out a similar exercise regarding the future role of the UN in Somalia. It was against this background that the AU requested the UN to lead the review process. Unfortunately, due to its own constraints, the UN was not able to avail the Secretary-General’s Military Advisor, as requested by the AU. All the same, the team carrying out the AMISOM review has consulted regularly the UN. Furthermore, the AU Commission relevant officials, including the Commissioner for Peace and Security, have had extensive meetings with the team working on the United Nations review. It is important to ensure that, as much as possible, the two reviews converge to facilitate a coordinated approach to the challenges facing Somalia and a more effective international support.


42. Somalia is continuing on the path of political progress since the advent of the new administration of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Within the framework of his Government’s six-pillar strategy, the President has provided clear direction on international community engagement with Somalia within the context of the new political dispensation in the country. I encourage the Somali stakeholders to remain steadfast and to continue to put the interest of their country above any other consideration, as the tasks ahead will be even more complex and demanding.

43. The efforts of the Somali Government to build strong institutions and embark on the path to recovery should be fully supported by the international community, in order to maintain the current momentum. Such support should be based on the priorities outlined by the Somalia authorities and be commensurate with the immense needs on the ground. I reiterate the call by Council on the UN Peace Building Commission to take steps to contribute actively to post-conflict reconstruction and development in Somalia. On its part, the AU Commission is planning to include Somalia in the list of pilot countries covered by the African Solidary Initiative (ASI), which was launched in July 2013, with a view to mobilizing, from within the continent, resources for African countries emerging from conflict. Furthermore, steps should be taken to support the restructuring and empowerment of the SNSF, including through the supply of stipends, equipment, weapons and ammunitions. As stressed by Council, this will require, within a transparent and orderly framework, the lifting of the arms embargo as it relates to the SNSF, while maintaining it against non-state actors.

44. I also note with satisfaction the gains that continue to be made by the Somali and AMISOM forces. I reiterate my appreciation to the AMISOM TCCs and PCCs, for their unwavering commitment and the sacrifices made. I applaud the courage and steadfastness of the Somali forces, as well as of the women and men serving under AMISOM, who are working under extreme difficulties to further the cause of peace and stability in Somalia. The on-going review of the Mission will enable the Commission to determine how best AMISOM can continue to support the stabilization process of Somalia. I also would like to express my appreciation to Ethiopia, Chair of IGAD, and the other members of the regional organisation, for their role and outstanding contribution to the quest for peace, stability and reconciliation in Somalia.

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