Mogadishu, Somalia – Senior officials from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and key stakeholders concluded a three-day conference to update on current counter-improvised explosive (IED) measures, in order to develop a comprehensive IED threat mitigation strategy.
The Mogadishu conference, which was attended by Somali security forces, the European Union Training Mission in Somalia (EUTM Somalia), the UK Mission Support Team (UK-MST) at ATMIS and other partners, was closed on Thursday by the ATMIS Force Commander. , Lieutenant-General Diomede Ndegeya.
In his remarks, Lt. Gen. Ndegeya noted the need to assess the conduct of mission activities and operations, with a view to finding solutions to the challenge posed by explosive devices.
He called for concerted efforts by all stakeholders, including local communities, to counter the threat posed by IEDs.
“Mitigation of the IED threat will require military actors engaging Somali authorities and working with communities to strengthen governance and support stabilization efforts,” Lt. Gen. Ndegeya said.
The Force Commander noted that the threat posed by IEDs requires the mission and partners to come up with innovative counter-IED measures.
During the conference, it was noted that despite efforts by UNMAS to improve the mission’s counter-IED capability through training, mentorship and equipment support, IEDs continue to represent a significant threat.
“Our ability to find solutions and thereby improve our counter-IED capability is critical to advancing the mission’s mandate,” Lt. Gen. Ndegeya said during the opening on Tuesday.
For his part, the head of the UNMAS program unit, Simon Porter, called for the rapid implementation of the recommendations and plans developed during the conference to strengthen the implementation of the mission’s mandate, given the tight deadlines set out in United Nations Security Council Resolution 2628 with respect to the transition period in Somalia.
“What’s important in the weeks and months ahead,” Porter said, “is that we follow through on the recommendations and the plans that have been made here and look at how they’re going to be operationalized and how they will be taken forward.
He added: “We really don’t have much time to sit around and overthink things.”
During the opening, the head of the mine action program of UNMAS, Jean Guy Lavoie, noted that the conference was an ideal opportunity for participants to propose innovative solutions to the threat posed by IEDs in Somalia.
“It’s about doing more, doing better, being more efficient, working better together, and also delivering on our new mandate,” explained Mr. Lavoie.
Director General of Somalia’s Defense Ministry, Hassan Said Samantar, told the opening that Somalia is a country most affected by improvised explosive devices, and he praised UNMAS for its support in the fight against explosive devices.
“We are grateful for all the work done by UNMAS in collaboration with all institutions in Somalia,” the Director General said.