Somali Government Calls For Immediate Deployment of Neutral African Union Forces in Kismayo
The Kenyan contingent of the African Union Mission in Somalia has caused “heavy civilian casualties” in Kismayo by using “high caliber weapons” and the commander of AMISOM Sector II has shown “incompetence,” Somalia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Fowzia Yusuf Adam, wrote in an explosive letter leaked recently.
The protest letter to the African Union, which is titled “Extremely Urgent – Kismayo conflict,” accuses the Kenyan forces of complicating the crisis in Kismayo and calls for the immediate deployment of multinational African Union forces that “will operate under the direct mandate of AMISOM” in Mogadishu.
The letter, dated June 30, also called for an “immediate independent inquiry” of the incidents that led to the arrest of Col. Abass Ibrahim Gurey, deputy brigade commander of the Somali National Forces.
As part of the infighting that ensued following the arrest of Abass, the government claims that 65 people were killed and 155 injured.
The letter accuses AMISOM Sector II Commander Brigadier Anthony Ngere of abuse of power by arresting Abbas.
“[Ngere’s] act was certainly a blunt abuse of power since Col Abbas nas neither committed a crime not the Somali Federal Government was notified of his arrest,” the letter said.
The Somali government said Gurey and other detained Somali forces must immediately be released.
The letter calls for the appointment of new AMISOM political officers for Kismayo “whose nationalities will be different from the AMISOM contingent in Sector II.” Kenyans are the dominant forces in Kismayo, which falls under Sector II.
Kenya’s war in Somalia started in October 2011, after the government launched a campaign dubbed Operation Linda Nchi or “Protect the Country.” According to the Kenyan government, the military’s incursion into Somalia started after al-Shabaab kidnapped two medical workers working for Doctors Without Borders in Dadaab refugee camp, located close to the Kenya-Somalia border.
The Kenyan AMISOM forces, in conjunction with the Somali forces, took over Kismayo from al-Shabaab in September 2012.
Copy of leaked letter