The Chief of Defence Forces General Edward Katumba Wamala wants Somali leaders to fast-track implementation of security sector reforms and the rebuilding of the national army.
He says this would enable them to effectively take over the country’s security from African Union troops. Gen Katumba made the statement upon his arrival in Mogadishu, Somalia on Monday, for a three-day official visit.
“As you interact politically with whoever will take the chair, this should be among their priority area; to make sure that they address the issue of building their security apparatus,” he told a meeting of senior officials from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
The Somali security sector reforms which are in line with AMISOM’s revised Concept of Operations (CONOPs) and its exit strategy are aimed at building the capacity of Somali National Security Forces to take over the security of the country, when AMISOM troops begin drawing down in 2018.
Gen Wamala praised the implementation of the quick-impact projects (QUIPs) by AMISOM, describing it is a big asset for the mission in its efforts to provide essential services to populations liberated from Al-Shabaab rule.
Lt. Gen. Osman Noor Soubagleh, the AMISOM Force Commander said AMISOM troops continue to jointly conduct offensive and defensive operations aimed at improving the security situation in Somalia.
“The security situation in Mogadishu city has improved significantly, the city being a strategic value for the seat of power, with a high population density, good infrastructure and good for political and economic activities. Therefore the center of gravity plays an important role for the stabilization of Somalia,” Lt. Gen. Soubagleh said.
Gen. Wamala also held a meeting with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Somalia, Michael Keating.
During the meeting, Lydia Wanyoto, the Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) updated Gen Wamala on the ongoing electoral process in the country and the security arrangements in place to ensure a smooth transition of power.
“We are doing everything it takes to ensure that we give the support and that our offices are open 24/7 for supporting the troops for which your country contributes,” Hon. Wanyoto stated.
Earlier, military officers from AMISOM Sector One, briefed Gen Wamala on the security situation in Lower Shabelle and Banaadir regions, which fall under the AMISOM Ugandan contingent’s area of responsibility.