By Hussein Mohamad, @HussienM12
The African Union Mission In Somalia (AMISOM ), which was created on 19 January 2007, has been struggling to defeat and destroy the terrorist group al-Shabaab. As well, many Somalis believe that the mission itself is not supporting the federal government of Somalia and the Somali National Army.
To investigate how Somalis view the AMISOM mission in the capital, Mogadishu, I met and interviewed several Somalis and found most of them strongly opposed to the AU mission.
I asked those I interviewed the following questions;
• What is your impression of the AMISOM mission?
• Do you think that the AMISOM mission support Somali national army ?
• Is al-Shabaab being defeated by AU mission?
Mohamed Ibrahim Bulbul who is a Somali student living in Mogadishu believes that AMISOM forces came to Somalia for economic reasons rather than to help or defeat al-Shabaab.
Bulbul said. “I went to Uganda for education and I met when I was there the wife of an AMISOM soldier, so I understood everything and she was waiting his money every month”
“They are called peacekeeping forces even though many AMISOM troops were arrested in Mogadishu for selling AU military equipment on the black market,” he added.
In a previous report, AMISOM confirmed the arrests of at least 5 of its soldiers who were captured in a joint operation conducted by both AMISOM and the Somali police forces on 6, June 2016.
Dr Paul D.Williams who is associate professor at Elliott school of International Affairs said, “I think there are a mix of reasons why AMISOM stays in Somalia, not just only economic issues.”
Bulbul who is strongly against AMISOM presence in Somalia said, “I don’t believe that AMISOM helps Somali people. Ask yourself why they are not defeating al-Shabaab? They have been in Somalia more than 10 years, so I can’t trust this mission.”
“AMISOM stays in the country for economic reasons not peacekeeping mission,” he added.
Abukar Arman, a Somali writer, activist and former diplomat says that AMISOM mission can’t succeed without the support of local population.
Such local support however is often unavailable. The Ethiopian government, which is one of the East African countries serving under AMISOM mission, is perceived to be Somalia’s long-standing enemy and entered the country for retaliation, a perspective shared by many Somalis living around the world.
Recent actions as well have given fuel to these accusations. According to local media, the Ethiopian troops serving under AMISOM mission withdrew from nine towns within four months without explanation. Later al-Shabaab took the control of these towns.
In Somalia there are at least 21,000 AU peacekeeping forces deployed by several East African countries including Uganda, Djibouti, Burundi, Kenya and Ethiopia.