The Chiefs of Defence Forces received briefs from the AMISOM Special Representative, Force Commander and Police Commissioner, US, EU and UNSOS thereafter, important issues were discussed.
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, May 22, 2017 – The Military Operations Coordination Committee (MOCC) for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) convened its 23rd meeting in Nairobi, Kenya on 19 May 2017, which was hosted by the Kenyan Defence Forces. The Chiefs of Defence Staff (CDS) of AMISOM Troops Contributing Countries (Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda) or their designated representatives attended the meeting, chaired by the African Union (AU) Commissioner of Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui. Representative of the Somalia National Army, partner countries and organization (namely: United Kingdom, United States of America, European Union and United Nations) also participated in the meeting.
The meeting took place in wake of last meeting held in Addis Ababa on 24 January 2017, which reiterated the need for a comprehensive approach to security in Somalia, anchored on a combination of critical mutually reinforcing factors relating to the promotion of immediate security, the extension of state authority, building of a capable Somalia National Security Forces, and preventing violent extremism. The Chiefs of Defence Forces received briefs from the AMISOM Special Representative, Force Commander and Police Commissioner, US, EU and UNSOS thereafter, important issues were discussed. Pertinent amongst which was that the MOCC reiterated its commitment to undergo the Juba Corridor and North East Coastline Operation.
The 23rd MOCC meeting further took note of the objectives of the Joint AU-UN Review of AMISOM, which will proffer options for support, and enhancement of the Somali national security plan. The meeting stressed that the objective comes at a critical juncture of AMISOM operations and the security- building of the Somali national security institutions, as well as the Exit Strategy of AMISOM forces starting in October 2018.
“The Kenyan government has shrugged off calls from the United Nations to rethink its decision to shut the Daadab refugee camp down. It says the first refugees will be repatriated later this year” (CCTV Africa, 2016).
The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 537th meeting held on 24 August 2015, was briefed by Ambassador Monica Juma, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government of the Republic of Kenya, on Kenya’s efforts in fighting al-Shabaab and its plan of relocating the Dabaab Refugee Camp.
Council reiterated its deep concern at the growing threat of terrorism and violent extremism and the resulting impact on peace and security on the continent. Council expressed the AU’s condemnation of all acts of terrorism by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes. Council stressed the imperative for continued and enhanced efforts to combat this scourge, on the basis of the relevant African and international instruments and its own decisions, notably communiqué PSC/AHG/COMM.(CDLV), adopted at its 455th meeting held in Nairobi, on 2 September 2014. Council underlined the need, in fighting terrorism, for a comprehensive approach and to uphold the highest standards in terms of human rights and international humanitarian law, bearing in mind the relevant provisions of the AU 2004 Protocol to the 1999 Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism.
Council condemned, in the strongest terms, the cowardly and heinous terrorist attacks committed by al-Shabaab in Kenya, resulting in large numbers of deaths and serious injuries, causing massive destruction of property and disrupting the daily life of ordinary Kenyans. Council expressed the AU’s full solidarity with the Government and people of Kenya and its condolences to the families of the dead, and wished speedy recovery to the injured. Council reiterated its support to the Government of Kenya in its efforts to combat the al-Shabaab terrorist group. Council also reiterated its appreciation to Kenya for its contribution to the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the sacrifices made in this respect.
Council expressed its appreciation to the Government and people of Kenya for hosting large numbers of refugees at the Dabaab camp, since its establishment in 1990.
Council took note of the planned relocation of the Dabaab refugee camp, as part of the Kenyan Government overall efforts to prevent attacks by the al-Shabaab terrorist group. Council agreed to undertake further consultations on this issue with all concerned stakeholders, with a view to contributing to the search for a sustainable solution that would take into account Kenya’s overall national security concerns, whilst respecting relevant international and African instruments, including the 1951 United Nations (UN) Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 UN Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, as well as the Organization of Africa Unity (OAU) Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa. Council requested the Commission to submit to it a report on the issue, with recommendations on the way forward, by early October 2015.