AU commander visits Djibouti, Ethiopian forces in Somalia

The deputy force commander in charge of operations and plans at the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Maj-Gen Nakibus Lakara, has urged Djiboutian and Ethiopian forces to adhere to set timelines in executing tasks under the Concept of Operations (CONOPs).

On Sunday, Maj-Gen Lakara visited Beledweyne, the headquarters of the AMISOM Sector 4, controlled by Djiboutian troops, backed by Ethiopian forces, where he was briefed on the overall security situation and progress made in implementing the CONOPs.

“We have had a lengthy discussion to look at what needs to be done, and what needs to be provided, in order to enable the forces to accomplish the assigned tasks,” Gen Lakara stated.

The CONOPs outlines the activities AMISOM has to implement under the Somali Transition Plan up to 2021, when AMISOM is expected to exit and hand over security responsibility of the country to Somali security forces.

At the meeting, Gen Lakara reminded the military commanders, led by the Sector 4 Commander, Col Mohamed Ibrahim Moussa, his deputy, Col Teklebirhan Hailu (Ethiopia) and the Djibouti Contingent Commander, Col Abdirahman Rayale Hared of the need to adhere to the timelines in accomplishing tasks assigned to them.

Gen Lakara was accompanied by the chief operations officer, Col John Patrick Otongo, Maj Agbidinoukoun Enagnon, the plans officer and Maj Solomon Nchoko.

The deputy force commander noted that while the Somali National Army (SNA) is building up its forces, AMISOM should forge ahead with discharging its mandate.

“The SNA needs to be supported first of all to generate forces and this has been the focus, in line with the Transition Plan, that AMISOM must handover to a capable force, able to defend the country when AMISOM exists,” Gen Lakara noted.

Gen Lakara, who was also briefed on measures being undertaken to counter the threat of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) which terrorists have been using, said he appreciated the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) for the critical support in countering the threat of IEDs and urged the officers to be creative in the fight against terrorists.

Gen Lakara’s visit to Beledweyne, about 340km from Mogadishu, comes just days after a similar visit to Jowhar, the headquarters of AMISOM Sector 5, under the control of Burundi forces, and a forward operating base in Gololey, still under Sector 5.

Sources: AMISOM