AMISOM, for Peace, Stability and Development in Somalia
 

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BACKGROUND AND POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS
AMISOM Humanitarian activities
Humanitarian activities have made AMISOM very popular among the local Somalis
 
 
1. In 1978, instability became an increasing phenomenon in Somalia culminating into civil strife and the collapse of central authority with the overthrow of the dictatorial regime of President Siad Barre on 26 January 1991. Unable to agree on a national political formula, the country entered into a period of intensive civil war and statelessness that disrupted the social, political and economic fabric of the Somali Republic. A large number of small arms and heavy weapons commonly called ‘technical’ fell into the hands of civilians who formed organized and freelance militias to replace the national defence and police forces. Atrocities committed include human rights abuse, indiscriminate killing of civilians, widespread rape and violence against women and children, arbitrary detention, forced recruitment and use of child soldiers among others.

2. A United States-led humanitarian and nation-building intervention under the auspices of the UN (the Unified Task Force, UNITAF) was initiated in 1993, but was withdrawn in 1995 after a firefight in Mogadishu resulted in US troop casualties. The preceding UN Peacekeeping Operation in Somalia, UNOSOM I and II also withdrew in March 1995. In the aftermath of these separate missions, warlords continued to ravage Mogadishu and other parts of Somalia.

3. The Warlords who were operating in Mogadishu after the withdrawal of UNOSOM II were finally defeated by an alliance of Islamic Courts, civil society groups, business community and the general population of Mogadishu early 2006. While some of the warlords were alleged to have sought refuge in the neighbouring countries, others were believed to be hiding in other parts of Somalia. Their whereabouts and intentions remain unclear. In the meantime, the Islamic Courts consolidated power and control over Mogadishu, through the establishment of committees and created more courts to form the Islamic Courts Union (ICU). The ICU quickly spread its control over most parts of the country through conquest and intimidation.

4. The ICU’s roots can be traced to its current radical leader, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, a retired Somali Armed Force Colonel, who went about after 1977, establishing Islamic Courts that provided harsh order to Somalia’s anarchic political landscape. Aweys was appointed the Secretary General of the Sharia Implementation Council, a group dedicated to unifying Islamic courts under one body and governing Somalia under Islamic law. At the formation of the Islamic Courts Council in 2000 and the merging of independent courts in south Mogadishu, Aweys became the council’s Secretary General. The merger of the courts’ militias raised the largest force in Mogadishu to fight the warlords.

5. After several failed attempts at building a new Somali Unity Government, a two-year peace process, led by the Government of Kenya, under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), concluded in October 2004 with the election of Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed as the Transitional Federal President of Somalia. The process also led the formation of a Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs), which up to June 2004, operated from Nairobi.

6. The TFG, since its relocation to Somalia after June 2004, moved its temporal headquarters to Jowhar and thereafter to Baidoa in the Bay Region. The TFG and the TFIs gained broad acceptance and recognition by Somalis and made considerable progress in the areas of political institutionalization, especially the establishment and approval of the National Reconciliation Council, NSSP, as well as establishment of the Supreme Court, and regional and district councils. However, further progress was hampered by lack of institutional capacity and inadequate resources and external assistance to the TFIs. This situation has affected the establishment of the new security forces in accordance with the provisions of the NSSP. It was also not possible for the TFG to reach out to and establish its control over all sections and regions of the Somali society, though it has support from those regions. Regional and local governing bodies, based on clan lines, each with its own security system, therefore continued to control various cities and regions in the country. Most significant of these were the warlords that controlled and terrorized inhabitants of Mogadishu.

7. The situation in Somalia changed drastically from what it was when the TFG was formed. The ICU emerged as a major player in Somali politics alongside the TFG, establishing itself as the new reality that controlled Mogadishu and increasing its sphere of influence to other areas thus effectively besieging the TFG in the small enclave of Baidoa. The ICU did not accord with the provisions of the Transitional Federal Charter but sought to create a political authority in Somalia, based on the Sharia law.

8. The TFG and the ICU expressed their commitment to dialogue and reconciliation, and declared their readiness to participate in peace talks. In this regard, the parties expressed their readiness to discuss all political and security issues, including the new situation in Mogadishu, and called for the full support of all stakeholders to ensure the success of the talks. Two rounds of peace talks which took place in Khartoum, Sudan, under the auspices of the League of Arab States did not yield the desired results and the third round failed to take off due to opposing uncompromising positions adopted by both parties.

9. The situation of the TFG was further weakened by the disagreement between the Prime Minister Mr. Ali Mohamed Ghedi and his ministers (TFG) over whether to dialogue with the ICU or not. Failed attempts to pass a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister led to a spate of mass resignations of ministers and Deputy Ministers from the Government. Consequently, the TFG Cabinet was dissolved and new Ministers appointed in August 2006.

10. Perceived interferences by some frontline states in the Somali Peace Process, contributed to unnecessary tension and mistrust between the TFG and the ICU. Both sides claim the involvement of external players and countries in providing military and other support to one side or the other. While the TFG claims that there are international terrorist within the ICU with support from some countries including Eritrea; the ICU on the other hand alleges the deployment of Ethiopian forces is in support of the TFG.

11. The UN Security Council Resolution 1725, adopted on 6th December 2006 as attached as Enclsosure 1, partially lifted the arms embargo and authorized the AU and IGAD member states to establish a training and protection mission in Somalia. However, the two bodies were not able to deploy this force before forces loyal to the TFG and supported by Ethiopian troops launched a massive offensive against the ICU forces on 25th December and effectively dislodged them from all their strongholds by 1st January 2006. After the defeat of the ICU, some of their fighters abandoned their uniforms and rejoined their clans while others withdrew towards the Kenyan border. The ICU undertook to launch guerrilla attacks against the Ethiopian troops within Somalia and elsewhere until they withdrew from the country.

12. Concurrently, as the international community called on Ethiopia to withdraw its troops from Somalia it also recognized the fact that Somalia will relapse into a state of anarchy without a strong force replacing the Ethiopians to assist the TFG consolidate its position. This situation therefore reinforced the call on AU and IGAD to deploy a force to Somalia. However due to restrictions placed on the frontline states to intervene in Somalia as well as other administrative problems inherent in the arrangement it become necessary to review the original plan of deploying an IGAD force that will hand over to the AU within 6 months. A decision was therefore taken to deploy an AU Force that incorporated elements from IGAD to be called African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Consequently, the PSC, at its 69th Meeting held in Addis Ababa on 19th January 2007 mandated the AU Commission to establish a Peace Support Mission in Somalia. The PSC Communiqué is attached as Enclsosure 2.

POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS AND DECISIONS

13. In light of the worsening security situation in Somalia, the Government of Somalia and the Heads of State of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) issued a communiqué on the 31 January 2005 meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, on their intentions to deploy a Peace Support Mission to Somalia. The communiqué as attached as Enclsosure 3 provided for security support to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in order to ensure its relocation to Somalia, guarantee the sustenance of the outcome of the IGAD Peace Process and assist with the re-establishment of peace and security including training of the Police and the Army. The intentions of this communiqué were endorsed by the Fourth Ordinary Session of the African Union and authorized by subsequent decision of the 24th Meeting of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union held on 7 February 2005 (Enclsosure 4).

14. On 14 February 2005 the AU/IGAD sent a first Fact-Finding and Reconnaissance Mission on to determine the mandate, force size, structure and tasks of the Peace Support Mission. The proposed IGAD Forces for Somalia (IGASOM) Deployment Plan was presented by the Military Experts from the IGAD Member States, refined by the Chiefs of Defence and finally approved by the Ministers of Defence at the 14 March 2005 meeting in Entebbe, Uganda. The IGASOM Deployment Plan as attached Enclsosure E was subsequently adopted at the 24th IGAD Council of Ministers on 18 March 2005, in Nairobi, Kenya. Nevertheless, the IGASOM deployment did not take place in light of extant difficulties which were mainly due to the UN Security Council’s inability to lift the arms embargo on Somalia. Hence a request was made for a Joint AU/IGAD Planning Team and the Somali National Security and Stabilization Plan for the deployment of forces to Somalia.

15. On 20 March 2006, the 11th IGAD Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Nairobi reiterated its decision to deploy IGASOM. Subsequently an Extra-Ordinary Council of Ministers Meeting on 13th June 2006 in Nairobi reaffirmed the need for deployment of IGASOM.

16. On 5 July 2006 a second AU/IGAD mission to Somalia undertook political and technical consultations with the TFG, the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), the Business Community, Civil Society and Traditional Leaders in order to finalise the modalities for deployment of forces to Somalia. Subsequently, on 1 August 2006, an Extra-Ordinary Council of Ministers’ Meeting in Nairobi directed the Chiefs of Defence Staff of IGAD to prepare a revised Detailed Mission Plan based on the situation in Somalia and in accordance with the Somali National Security Stabilization Plan.

 

@2008 The African Union Commission