Somalia focuses on stabilization in ‘newly liberated’ towns
Addis Ababa, 12 March 2014 (WIC) – Somalia’s Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed said efforts must now turn to stabilization in towns recently ‘liberated’ from Al-Shabaab.
The Premier yesterday hosted a meeting attended by Special Representatives and Ambassadors from the UN, EU, UK, Turkey, Ethiopia, UAE, Italy and the USA to update them on the ongoing offensive against Al-Shabaab and urge them to do all they can to support the stabilisation efforts in newly liberated areas.
The Prime Minister alongside the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Minister of Interior briefed the meeting on the successful liberation of the four key strategic towns of Rabdhure, Hudur, Wajid & Buudhubow from Al-Shabaab.
Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, said: “the SNA alongside AMISOM have secured four key strategic towns in what is a major defeat and decisive blow against Al-Shabaab. Security operations are ongoing to clear mines and IEDs left by Al-Shabaab and provide reassurance to the local population creating a safe environment for local people to return to.
“Following the military success efforts must now turn to stabilisation in these towns. Al-Shabaab have inflicted untold damage on both the local people but also the physical infrastructure of these liberated towns, destroying police stations, clinics, water points and schools. Due to the neglect inflicted by Al-Shabaab on the local population we are now facing a humanitarian crisis within these towns, with food aid specifically needed.
“The government is responding quickly as new towns and land is liberated from Al-Shabaab. The Ministry of Interior is ready to assist and roll out programs to support security and local administration. The Ministry of Defence is providing ongoing security and reassurance to the local population and also providing security and logistical support to deliver food aid to the liberated towns. The government has deployed a Deputy Minister alongside a number of religious scholars to each of the four towns to oversee and co-ordinate the government’s stabilisation efforts.
“Al-Shabaab should be in no doubt there is no safe haven for them in Somalia and military operations will continue until they are destroyed.”
Addressing the representatives from the international community the Prime Minister thanked them for their support but warned of the humanitarian crisis in these towns and the need to co-ordinate stabilisation support. International partners pledged to work alongside the government in delivering aid and stabilisation programs as well as what extra support could be delivered, the Turkish Ambassador announced that direct budgetary support to Somalia would restart shortly.
“We must now work together to quickly support the local people with both immediate humanitarian aid and also in delivery of basic public services. In the long-term help is needed to rebuild the physical infrastructure so badly damaged by 23 years of war.
“I thank the international community for your support so far in the fight against Al-Shabaab and stabilisation of Somalia. It is essential we continue to work together to co-ordinate delivery of aid and services in these newly liberated towns. I hope donors will honour their pledges to support the people of Somalia at this key time in the battle against Al-Shabaab. ” the Prime Minister said. (MoFA)
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