African ministers of defence began a two-day meeting in Mogadishu, Somalia on Tuesday to boost stabilization efforts in the country. Somalia’s Minister for Information, Culture and Tourism Daud Aweis Jama said the ministers from frontline states of Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia are expected to adopt a common position on regional security and the fight against al-Shabab extremists in Somalia.
“The defense ministers meeting is discussing the completion of the operations to liberate the areas where al-Shabab are still operating, the coordination of the important support of the frontline countries and how to help the security forces in the operations,” Aweis told journalists in Mogadishu.
The minister said the meeting, which is also being attended by chiefs of defence forces, including military commanders from troop-contributing countries, will come up with a unified strategy for counterterrorism. He said the ministers are discussing the strengthening of security cooperation, speeding up operations against the al-Shabab terrorist group and operations of the African Union Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).
Tuesday’s meeting was a prelude to Wednesday’s regional summit which presidents from the three countries attended. The summit was chaired by President of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud who presented the general security situation in Somalia, especially the operations against the al-Shabab and the best ways the frontline forces can tackle the threat of terrorism and flush them out of Somalia.
Uganda was the first country to deploy troops under the African Union peace support operations in Somalia in 2007. Other troops-contributing countries include Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya. The ATMIS is the largest peace support mission in Africa and has been mandated by both the African Union and the United Nations to reduce the threat posed by the al-Shabab and support peace and reconciliation efforts toward a secure and stable Somalia.