AFRICANGLOBE – The African Union is reaching out to Gulf countries to support its peacekeeping mission in Somalia, after the European Union reduced its annual $200 million funding by 20 per cent.
The AU is also working with the United Nations Security Council to find alternative funding for the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).
The head of Amisom, Francisco Caetano Madeira, said AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui has visited countries in the Gulf to try to fill the funding gaps.
The new strategy comes after Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta threatened to withdraw the country’s forces from Somalia because the international community is not providing sufficient funding and equipment to sustain the war against Al Shabaab.
While hosting diplomats from the UN Security Council in mid-May, President Kenyatta said the gap left by the EU 20 per cent cut is too large to be met by troop-contributing countries.
In April, Uganda’s Parliamentary Committee of Defence and Internal Affairs raised similar concerns over the cut in funding, delays of up to four months in releasing the pay, and non-compensation for use of military hardware.
Mr Madeira said Amisom has been operating with a shortage of equipment, arms and ammunition, and that the soldiers are being paid stipends that are not commensurate with the efforts and sacrifices they are undertaking.
He said ending the conflict in Somalia should be a collective effort by the international community.
“It is a responsibility that demands common and proportional contributions, and the same effort that is made in Syria, Iraq, North Africa, Nigeria and Afghanistan,” said Mr Madeira.