AU Pauses Troops Exit From Somalia
The head of the African Union Mission in Somalia, Mohamed El-Amine Souef, has confirmed to VOA that Somalia’s request for a three-month pause of the withdrawal of the peacekeepers has been approved by the AU Peace and Security Council. In an interview with VOA’s Somali Service on Monday night, Souef said there is a “political will” in Somalia to take over security responsibilities from the African Union forces. But he says the Somali army is “young,” and the international community has the responsibility to support, train and equip it. He said when AMISOM withdraws some of the troops, contributing countries have agreed to donate their equipment, vehicles and some of the guns to the Somali National Army. But, Souef says, Somalia is “struggling” with the decades-long weapons embargo at a time when they are trying to take over security responsibilities. He says the 1992 arms embargo should be lifted so that Somalia can buy weapons.