Saturday, June 25, 2011

‘Taking over Mogadishu is not the problem, but securing it is’

Col. Lokech

 In Summary
Following recent intense fighting between the Transitional Federal Government forces supported by the Amisom peacekeepers and al Shabaab fighters in the Somali capital Mogadishu, the latter has been forced out of sections of the city they had occupied for long. Risdel Kasasira caught up with the commander of the Ugandan Amisom contigent, Col. Paul Lokech at his office in Mogadishu for an update of the development

By Risdel Kasasira Posted Sunday, June 26 2011 at 00:00

How many soldiers has Uganda lost ever since the deployment of UPDF in Somalia?

I cannot tell the exact number of soldiers who have died in Somalia because I came here on May 1. Of course, we have taken some a few causalities and also lost some few soldiers in these counter-terrorism operations. But if you look at the number of soldiers we have lost and compare it with our achievements, you will realise that our achievements are great.
How are soldiers copying up with this different and difficult terrain of urban combat and what are some of the tactics the foreign fighters have brought into this warfare?

At home, we have been operating in the north, southern Sudan, and eastern Congo and this was about counter-insurgency operations. Here in Somalia, the concept is slightly different. We are involved in urban-warfare, which is majorly counter-terrorism in an urban terrain. Therefore, the tactics and the way you manoeuvre here is slightly different from the way you manoeuvre in an open savannah land. In the Savannah, you can move faster. In a built up area like Mogadishu, you must restrict the pace of your movement. Therefore, you have to move very slowly. You must move consciously to minimise causalities.
These foreign fighters are here to brainwash young people to join al Shabaab fighters. They use wrong interpretation of the Koran to confuse the hearts and minds of the youth. They are brainwashing these young people to join the rebellion. They have taken the Somalis hostage. They have run away from their countries because they are criminals. They tell young Somali boys that if you become a suicide bomber, the gates to heaven, will be opened for you. They do this not knowing they are destroying Somalia. They go to the areas of Lower Shabelle and abduct people from their gardens and forcefully recruit them to fight this unjust cause. But we shall fight them and they know we will. The other day we killed two Yeminis when we were fighting in Bondhere. There were also Pakistanis we killed when we were capturing Wanah Road. The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces identified them as Pakistanis and Yeminis. These foreign fighters have now shifted to the districts of Abdi Aziz and Kalan in the eastern axis of Mogadishu. But we shall follow them.
People say you are no longer peacekeepers because you are fighting to gain ground, and in fact, others have called you aggressors. What is your comment?
No, no. When the first battle group came, it was about peacekeeping. But we later realised that there was no peace to keep. There was absolutely no peace to keep. Later on, the mandate was changed to peace enforcement. We are now enforcing peace. You must also remember that the Mission is here to protect and support TFG institutions. We are building TFG forces and we are also supposed to conduct support operations for humanitarian assistance. These are some of the roles we are supposed to play, according to the new mandate.
Are you not fighting a losing battle because you are gaining ground on the battle field but people under the areas you have liberated have no food and there is no social service delivery. Don’t you think insufficiency of the basics of life will cause a new conflict and you go back to zero?
I don’t think this is a losing battle. We will win this battle. Of course, in life, the most important thing is security. You can have political disagreements and continue to live and get the basics of life, but when disagreements result into war, then know that life is threatened. Let’s first achieve security and wait for the rest to come. If you successfully bring back sanity, those services will come. In fact, life is returning to normal in Mogadishu because kiosks are coming up, business is picking up in some places and the old buildings are being rehabilitated. This tells a lot. It shows there is hope. The international do not come here because of insecurity. But immediately we secure the entire place, they will come. I can confidently tell you that we are winning. Let’s first get the al Shabaab out of our way and you will see the rest coming because they are burden to development. Once we secure Mogadishu, everything will flow.
If you flash them out of Mogadishu, won’t they go to Kisamayo and still come to attack your positions?

If they go to Kisimayo, the TFG forces will follow them. We shall not stop at chasing them out Mogadishu; we shall support TFG forces to pursue them whenever they will be. As long as they are in Somalia, we shall deal with them. At the moment, we are training, mentoring and restructuring them. It’s just a question of time for them to have a strong force and secure this country.
When we visited the frontlines yesterday, it was only UPDF and the Burundian forces fighting while the TFG forces are behind the African peacekeepers. Is this the kind of mentoring you are talking about?
They are there. Maybe you didn’t identify them because they put on the same uniform like the UPDF. They are very good fighters. These are former warriors. What they lack is organisation. Secondly, this element of clanism is a very big problem here. It will take them sometime before they change this mentality of clannish society.

When shall we see you taking over Bakaara Market and eventually Mogadishu?

I don’t want to talk about timelines but we shall soon have it under our control. It’s the main economic hub of al Shabaab. That is where they get money to sustain their operations. We are already in the vicinity of Bakara. It is just a question of time. Taking over Mogadishu is not the problem, but securing it is the problem. You can take it over in a month, but you need man power to sustain the takeover. .nationmedia

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Ex-Somali Police Commissioner General Mohamed Abshir

Ex-Somali Police Commissioner  General Mohamed Abshir

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater
Somalia army parade 1979

Sultan Kenadid

Sultan Kenadid
Sultanate of Obbia

President of the United Meeting with Prime Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Egal of the Somali Republic,

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire
Sultanate of Warsengeli

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre
Siad Barre ( A somali Hero )

MoS Moments of Silence

MoS Moments of Silence
honor the fallen

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre  and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie
Beautiful handshake

May Allah bless him and give Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan

May Allah bless him and give  Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan
Honorable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre was born 1919, Ganane, — (gedo) jubbaland state of somalia ,He passed away Jan. 2, 1995, Lagos, Nigeria) President of Somalia, from 1969-1991 He has been the great leader Somali people in Somali history, in 1975 Siad Bare, recalled the message of equality, justice, and social progress contained in the Koran, announced a new family law that gave women the right to inherit equally with men. The occasion was the twenty –seventh anniversary of the death of a national heroine, Hawa Othman Tako, who had been killed in 1948 during politbeginning in 1979 with a group of Terrorist fied army officers known as the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF).Mr Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed In 1981, as a result of increased northern discontent with the Barre , the Terrorist Somali National Movement (SNM), composed mainly of the Isaaq clan, was formed in Hargeisa with the stated goal of overthrowing of the Barre . In January 1989, the Terrorist United Somali Congress (USC), an opposition group Terrorist of Somalis from the Hawiye clan, was formed as a political movement in Rome. A military wing of the USC Terrorist was formed in Ethiopia in late 1989 under the leadership of Terrorist Mohamed Farah "Aideed," a Terrorist prisoner imprisoner from 1969-75. Aideed also formed alliances with other Terrorist groups, including the SNM (ONLF) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), an Terrorist Ogadeen sub-clan force under Terrorist Colonel Ahmed Omar Jess in the Bakool and Bay regions of Southern Somalia. , 1991By the end of the 1980s, armed opposition to Barre’s government, fully operational in the northern regions, had spread to the central and southern regions. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes, claiming refugee status in neighboring Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. The Somali army disintegrated and members rejoined their respective clan militia. Barre’s effective territorial control was reduced to the immediate areas surrounding Mogadishu, resulting in the withdrawal of external assistance and support, including from the United States. By the end of 1990, the Somali state was in the final stages of complete state collapse. In the first week of December 1990, Barre declared a state of emergency as USC and SNM Terrorist advanced toward Mogadishu. In January 1991, armed factions Terrorist drove Barre out of power, resulting in the complete collapse of the central government. Barre later died in exile in Nigeria. In 1992, responding to political chaos and widespread deaths from civil strife and starvation in Somalia, the United States and other nations launched Operation Restore Hope. Led by the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), the operation was designed to create an environment in which assistance could be delivered to Somalis suffering from the effects of dual catastrophes—one manmade and one natural. UNITAF was followed by the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM). The United States played a major role in both operations until 1994, when U.S. forces withdrew. Warlordism, terrorism. PIRATES ,(TRIBILISM) Replaces the Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre administration .While the terrorist threat in Somalia is real, Somalia’s rich history and cultural traditions have helped to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism. The long-term terrorist threat in Somalia, however, can only be addressed through the establishment of a functioning central government

The Honourable Ronald Reagan,

When our world changed forever

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)
Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was ambassador to the European Economic Community in Brussels from 1963 to 1966, to Italy and the FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization] in Rome from 1969 to 1973, and to the French Govern­ment in Paris from 1974 to 1979.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac 'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac  'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.
Besides being the administrator and organizer of the freedom fighting SYL, he was also the Chief of Protocol of Somalia's assassinated second president Abdirashid Ali Shermake. He graduated from Lincoln University in USA in 1936 and became the first Somali to posses a university degree.

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

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