May 19, 2024

Al-Shabab Militants Target AU Peacekeeper Mission Base in Somalia; U.S. Strongly Condemns Assault

A young Somali girl runs in front of an African Union Mission in Somali (AMISOM) armed personnel carrier, Lido Beach in the Kaaraan District of Mogadishu, Somalia. The day this photo was taken marked the first-year anniversary of the forced withdrawal from Mogadishu of the brutal extremist group, Al Shabaab. A push by troops of the Transitional Federal Government and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) ended Shabaab’s stranglehold on the capital and its population. Over the past twelve months, residents of Mogadishu have enjoyed the longest period of relative peace in their city for twenty years. A semblance of normal daily life is returning to the now busy streets as businesses and neighbourhoods begin to rebuild. Photo ID 522607. 06/08/2012. Mogadishu, Somalia. UN Photo/Stuart Price
SOMALIA, Mogadishu: A photograph released by the African Union-United Nations Information Support Team 06 August 2012, a young Somali girl runs in front of an African Union Mission in Somalia(AMISOM) armed personnel carrier on the street behind Lido Beach in the Kaaraan Districtl in the Somali capital Mogadishu. August 06 is the one-year anniversary marking the date that Al-Qaeda-affiliated extremist group Al Shabaab withdrew from fixed positions in Mogadishu after having steadily lost territory to forces of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) backed by troops from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), ending their draconian stranglehold on the capital and its population. In the last 12 months, residents of Mogadishu have enjoyed the longest period of relative peace in their city for 20 years, with re-building and re-generation work taking place all over the city and businesses and a semblance of normal daily life returning to the now busy streets of the war-shattered Horn of Africa capital. AU-UN IST PHOTO / STUART PRICE.

The United States issued a strong condemnation on Friday following an attack by the extremist group Al-Shabaab on Ugandan peacekeeping forces stationed in Buulo Mareer, Somalia, as part of the African Union Transition Mission (ATMIS).

Al-Shabaab, linked to al-Qaeda, has been actively engaged in an insurgency against the Somali government since 2006, aiming to establish a strict interpretation of Islamic law. The attack occurred approximately 130 kilometers (80 miles) southwest of Mogadishu, the Somali capital.

ATMIS, consisting of 22,000 troops from various African countries, has closely collaborated with the Somali government since its establishment in 2022 to restore peace, strengthen security institutions, and foster stability in the country. Its primary objective is countering extremist threats, including those posed by Al-Shabaab.

The attack took place amidst ongoing efforts by the Somali government, supported by international partners, to combat extremist groups and establish a secure and inclusive state. However, years of instability and conflict, compounded by the presence of armed groups, have hindered progress and development in Somalia.

Soldiers of the Somali National Army (SNA) walk at dusk under a rising crescent moon near the outskirts of Afgooye, a town to the west of Somali capital Mogadishu. On the third day of the SNA’s joint offensive with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), dubbed “Operation Free Shabelle”, troops have advanced to almost two kilometres outside strategically important Afgooye, having captured along the way swathes of territory previously under the control of the Al Shabaab insurgent group.

Matthew Miller, spokesperson for the United States Department of State, commended the bravery and sacrifice of the mission’s troops in a statement. He reaffirmed the country’s commitment to supporting Somalia and the African Union in their fight against terrorism and the pursuit of peace and stability. The U.S. government expressed solidarity with its Somali and African Union partners and pledged ongoing support in countering terrorism and promoting lasting peace in the region.

Al-Shabaab has been responsible for numerous attacks in Somalia, targeting government institutions, military installations, and civilian populations. Despite concerted efforts by the Somali government and its international partners, the group has maintained its capacity to launch significant attacks, underscoring the ongoing challenges in combating terrorism in the region.

The United States continues to urge the international community to unite in condemning these acts and provide support to Somalia’s pursuit of sustainable peace. As part of its commitment, the U.S. government will provide assistance, training, and resources to strengthen Somali security forces and enhance regional cooperation against Al-Shabaab.

The attack serves as a reminder of the critical role of peacekeeping missions in Somalia and the ongoing security challenges faced by the country. The United States remains steadfast in its support for a stable, secure, and prosperous Somalia and will tirelessly collaborate with Somali and African Union partners to help the Somali people achieve a better and more peaceful future.

The incident in Buulo Mareer underscores the importance of international collaboration in addressing the root causes of extremism and fostering conditions for sustainable peace and development in Somalia. The United States will continue advocating for concerted efforts to counter terrorism and promote stability in the region.

As investigations into the attack on the Ugandan peacekeeping forces continue, the focus remains on providing assistance to the affected individuals and ensuring the safety and security of all involved in the ATMIS mission. The United States, alongside its partners, stands in solidarity with Somalia and the African Union as they strive to overcome challenges and build a brighter future for the Somali people.

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