Magazine article New African

Stability in Somalia Is Important to the World

Magazine article New African

Stability in Somalia Is Important to the World

Article excerpt

Seventy brave soldiers of the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) have lost their lives in Somalia and some have been wounded. In this op-ed piece, the Ugandan Amisom force commander, Major-General Nathan K. Mugisha, sounds the clarion call: "Let no one think that AMISOM is engaged in an obscure little domestic conflict in an unimportant nation that has no bearing on the rest of the world. On the contrary, the struggle for peace in Somalia represents the frontline in the international fight against Al Qaeda. If the international community fails to take this on board, the consequences could be dire."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

SOMETIMES NEGATIVE FORCES do our job for us. Earlier this year, the extremists said they were forming an alliance with Al Qaeda to establish an Islamic state in Somalia and fight a jihad across East Africa.

Ironically, the extremists' statement is a help because it crystallises what is at stake in a country that has been ripped apart by war for two decades. Let no one think that the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) is engaged in an obscure little domestic conflict in an unimportant nation that has no bearing on the rest of the world. On the contrary, the struggle for peace in Somalia represents the frontline in the international fight against Al Qaeda.

If the international community fails to take this on board, the consequences could be dire. This sort of terrorism is like a virus. Unless dealt with decisively (with all possible resources), it spreads.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

This is why it is so important to defeat the extremists who hide behind the perverted banner of religion and offer nothing but repression, violence and bloodshed to the people of Somalia. Extremism has nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with indiscriminate murder and carnage. I am gratified by the progress Amisom has made since the mission started in 2007. Amisom is now able to provide a wide range of services.

First and at the broadest strategic level, we provide the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed with the room and breathing space to function as an emerging administration, a key process in the road back to normalcy for Somalia.

At the military level, we intend to provide a secure environment, by providing training support for a new Somali military force that will soon hold the key to providing security, the key foundation for a future of stability and development. Everyone recognises that the future of Somalia ultimately lies in Somali hands.

The gains we have made have not been without pain and sacrifice. …

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