Global Policy Forum

UN Warns Against Military Solution in Somalia

Agence France Presse
April 21, 2007

A United Nations report released on Friday pressed for world support for African peacekeepers in Somalia but warned that pursuing military solutions in Mogadishu was likely to be "counter-productive". "The international community should urgently support the African Union with all means at its disposal," the report by UN chief Ban Ki-moon said. It stressed the need to provide "sufficient financial and logistical resources" to the AU stabilisation force to enable it to complete its deployment and facilitate the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops. But the report also warned that pursuing "military solutions to stabilise Mogadishu is likely to be counter-productive, creating long-term resentment among certain clans and communities and damaging prospects for the reconciliation process." It underscored the need to "dissuade some regional actors from contributing to instability and the proliferation of arms in Somalia, while encouraging positive contribution from others".

The report was released as at least 113 civilians were killed and 229 wounded in three days of fighting between Ethiopian forces and Islamist insurgents in the Somali capital, according to a local human rights group. Ethiopian troops helped the UN-backed transitional Somali government oust Islamists from Mogadishu in January. But since then fighting has steadily grown worse as Islamist insurgents and clan warlords have vowed to oust the Ethiopians. The UN warned of a humanitarian catastrophe in the lawless Somali capital with corpses left rotting in the streets, where rival fighters continued pounding each other with heavy artillery. About 1 500 AU peacekeepers from Uganda who deployed in Mogadishu early March have failed to stem the surge in violence. They have instead taken positions in the main airport, sea port, presidential palace and a key access road to the airport. The Ugandans are an advance contingent of about 8 000 peacekeepers the AU plans to deploy in Somalia to help President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed maintain control of the country. Ban's report also recommended that the UN Security Council review the volatile situation in Somalia by mid-June to determine whether conditions are ripe for the deployment of UN peacekeepers "subject to progress in the reconciliation process and developments on the ground". It further highlighted the need to "explore all possible avenues to promote inclusive dialogue and genuine reconciliation between the transitional federal institutions and all other stakeholders". Somalia has lacked an effective government since the ousting of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 touched off a power struggle that exploded into inter-clan warfare.

More Information on the Security Council
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