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Vol 56 No 20

Published 9th October 2015


Amisom loses friends

Once a shining example of what regional cooperation can achieve, Amisom has now fallen victim to the region’s shifting geopolitics

The African Union Mission in Somalia is suffering a crisis of confidence and a loss of purpose. After only a year in charge, the head of Amisom and AU Special Representative for Somalia, Ambassador Maman Sambo Sidikou, a Nigerien, is quitting to join the United Nations Mission in Congo-Kinshasa, the Mission des Nations unies pour la stabilisation du Congo. Leadership and funding problems are combining with the disastrous losses in battles with Al Haraka al Shabaab al Mujahideen at Leego and Janale to cast a shadow over Amisom's future. The AU Peace and Security Council, which is in nominal charge of Amisom strategy, is failing to provide backing and leadership, say Mogadishu insiders. Its Peace and Security Commissioner, Smaïl Chergui, who was previously Algeria's Ambassador to Russia, is obsessed with not confronting neighbouring states, they say, which means Ethiopia and Kenya, over the free hand they enjoy in Somalia. The two powerful neighbours increasingly rely on their own military, creating a lack of confidence in Amisom and thereby weakening it.

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