Somalia lauds AU mission for peacekeeping efforts Featured

MOGADISHU -- Somalia has lauded the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) for their efforts in restoring peace and security in the horn of Africa country.

Defense Minister Hassan Ali Mohamed hailed AMISOM for its role in securing Somalia following the decades-long civil war that devastated the country and displaced thousands of civilians.

"One of the purposes for the establishment of the African Union is the contribution to peacekeeping mission across African countries and their populations. AMISOM is a good example of the benefit of the African Union," he said according to a statement issued by the AU mission on Sunday.

The minister, who was speaking in Mogadishu during celebrations to mark the Africa Day, noted that AMISOM's objectives were in line with the aspirations of the founding fathers of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) - the forerunner of the African Union.

"The original mission of the OAU was to liberate Africa from colonialism, defend the sovereignty, uphold human rights and restore the dignity of Africans," said Mohamed.

He pointed out that AMISOM was an excellent example of the African Union's contribution to continental peace and hailed its personnel for the sacrifices made to restore peace and stability in Somalia.

Mohamed stressed the need for African nations to address the problem of refugees and internally displaced persons to help stem the tide of migration of the continent's youthful population to Europe.

The event, held under the theme "Refugees, Returnees, and Internally Displaced Persons: towards durable solutions to forced displacement in Africa" came at a time when Africa is grappling with an increasing refugee burden caused by conflict and loss of livelihoods.

Francisco Madeira, special representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia and head of AMISOM, emphasized the need for African unity and empowerment.

Madeira hailed troop and police contributing countries for embracing the spirit of pan-Africanism by deploying to Somalia to support peace efforts.

"Somalia, which at one time championed African independence, and freedom, is presently facing difficulties. You understood our cause and left your countries to come and support your brothers in Somalia," he said.

He stressed the need for continued support to recovery efforts and total liberation of the country from the control of al-Shabab and other armed groups.

He observed that AMISOM had supported the rebuilding of Somali state institutions, especially the security sector and also demonstrated the ability to defend the country.