The African Union’s plan to trim its Somalia peacekeeping force by 1000




The African Union’s plan to trim its Somalia peacekeeping force by 1000

African Union's plan
Eric Oteng with reuters

(africanews) –The African Union’s plan to trim its Somalia peacekeeping force (AMISOM) will hurt the mission unless extra equipment is found to offset the troop decrease.

The force of 22,000 deployed a decade ago is set to lose 1,000 soldiers this year as part of a long-term plan to pull out of the country and hand security to the Somali army.

AMISOM is confronting the Islamist militant group al Shabaab, whose ranks have been swelled by Islamic State fighters fleeing military setbacks in Libya and Syria.

“Unless we have a proportionate forces multiplier in terms of equipment … intelligence, electronic intelligence, that (withdrawal) will have a very considerable effect on our mission”

Militants killed more than 500 people in an attack in the capital Mogadishu last month. It was the deadliest such attack in the country’s recent history.

AMISOM deployed to help secure the government of a country that since 1991 has struggled to establish central control. The peacekeepers helped push al Shabaab out of Mogadishu but the group still frequently attacks civilian and military targets.

“Unless we have a proportionate forces multiplier in terms of equipment … intelligence, electronic intelligence, that (withdrawal) will have a very considerable effect on our mission,” AMISOM head Fransisco Madeira told Reuters.

“We believe the U.N. will find ways and means of covering or making up the gap that might result.”

The diplomat from Mozambique was speaking on the sidelines of a security conference in Mogadishu. He said it was hard to estimate the number of al Shabaab fighters.

Somalia’s minister of internal security Mohamed Abukar Islow told Reuters the government wants the lifting of an arms embargo “so that our forces get enough weapons and military equipment.”

The United Nations imposed an arms embargo on Somalia shortly after the nation plunged into civil war in the early 1990s.

It partially lifted the ban in 2013 to help equip government forces.


African Union's plan
with Reuters

The 14th largest diamond in the world sold for $6,536,360 (USD) in New York on Monday (December 4).

Sierra Leone will fund its development projects with the proceeds from the auction. This was the government’s second attempt to sell the 709-carat uncut gem, known as the “Peace Diamond,” after it rejected the highest bid of $7.07 million saying it failed to meet its own valuation at an initial auction in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown in May.

“I don’t know what that offer in Sierra Leone was, how serious or capable or whatever. If you have a choice between Laurence Graff buying your diamond and promoting the idea of a ‘Peace Diamond’ or going to somebody who you don’t know?” said Martin Rapaport, chairman of Rapaport Group, a network of diamond companies that managed the auction.

What’s the value of the life of a child in Sierra Leone? What’s the value of clean water? That’s the value that’s here. And that’s what Laurence Graff is buying. So I think it’s amazing to have such an important personage in the diamond industry. I’m sorry. I worked as hard as we could. We showed the diamond everywhere

“What’s the value of the life of a child in Sierra Leone? What’s the value of clean water? That’s the value that’s here. And that’s what Laurence Graff is buying. So I think it’s amazing to have such an important personage in the diamond industry. I’m sorry. I worked as hard as we could. We showed the diamond everywhere. We did whatever we could and that’s the best price that we can get from the market today,” he continued.

Over half of the proceeds from the sale will be used to fund clean water, electricity, education and health projects in Sierra Leone, and particularly in the village of Koryardu, in the Kono region in eastern Sierra Leone, where the diamond was discovered.

The giant egg-sized stone was unearthed in Koryardu in March by a Christian pastor who gave it to the government.

Diamonds fueled a decade-long civil war in Sierra Leone, ending in 2002, in which rebels forced civilians to mine the stones and bought weapons with the proceeds, leading to the term “blood diamonds.”



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