Ethiopia voices commitment to Somalia peacekeeping mission

Major Genreal Abraha Tesfaye (Left) and Brigadier General Gebremeskel Gebregzeaber, Chief Commander for Sector Three of the AMISOM

Major General Abraha Tesfaye, African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) Deputy Force Commander said that Ethiopia will work with the newly elected president of Somalia to create strong security forces throughout Somalia.

The General said that working with Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo government is the best way fight Al-Shabaab and to make long lasting peace in Somalia.

“We highly respect the new government because it is elected by the people of Somalia that is why our Prime Minister attended his inaugural ceremony recently to show our solidarity with Somalia.”  He added that Somalia is now getting better but the local police and security forces still need support from AMISOM to mange things by themselves.

Close to 4,000 Ethiopian peacekeepers now are in charge of the city of Baidoa which is the tactical headquarters of sector 3 AU mission that also brings together Bay, Bakool and Gedo regions. Some troops are also located in parts of Hiran, which borders Ethiopia with Somalia

Capital asked the General if there is a plan by Ethiopia to withdraw forces from Somalia.

“We do not plan to stay here forever. However, the exit strategy is not based on time, it is determined by the capability of the central government to fight enemies with its own army and if we achieve that we can leave soon.’’

He added that Ethiopian troops which are out from AMISOM may be added or reduced depending on decisions between the Somalia and Ethiopian governments.

Last year in October, Ethiopian troops which were not part of AMISOM left el-Ali village in Hiran region which allowed Al-Shabaab fighters to control the place immediately.

In related news a delegation from the African Union Peace and Security Council arrived in Somalia on March 23, to assess the level of progress made in defense and security institutions, especially efforts to build a formidable national army, capable of securing the whole country.

Ambassador Ntshinga Mdumiso, the Chairperson of African Union Peace and Security Council was leading the 24-member delegation.

He said their consultations would focus on “efforts to build national defense and security institutions”, which he explained would ultimately have the primary responsibility of maintaining peace and security in Somalia.”

During a meeting with the Prime Minister for Somalia Hassan Ali Kheyre, the Chairperson  said the consultations with various stakeholders would be extensive and would guide the African Union’s future activities in Somalia.

“The area we are interested in is the transparency, coordination and complementary efforts among all partners who are providing capacity building support to the Somali National Army,” he told the Prime Minister and other senior government leaders, during a meeting held at Villa Somalia – the presidential palace.