Somalia wants arms embargo lifted

2012-02-13 15:03
Mogadishu - Somalia's government called on Monday for the lifting of an arms embargo to help it resist an al-Qaeda-backed Islamist insurgency.

The appeal follows al-Qaeda's declaration last week that the Somali militant group al-Shabaab was joining its ranks, which raised concerns the Somali rebels' weakened campaign might be re-energised.

Security experts speculate al-Shabaab might be encouraged to carry out an al-Qaeda-style attack, perhaps on neighbouring Kenya which has sent troops to Somalia fight the Islamist insurgency.

Urging foreign powers to help, Mogadishu asked the international community to "lift the arms embargo on Somalia so that it could defend the country" and "increase and reinforce the Somali National Army".

"We ... believe that their union will increase the insecurity in Somalia, east Africa and the rest of the world and that Somalia risks becoming an al-Qaeda base in east Africa," Somalia's information ministry said in a statement.

The United Nations imposed the arms embargo in 1992, the year after clan warlords overthrew dictator Siad Barre and plunged the country into a civil conflict that still festers.

The embargo has been amended several times, including in 2006 to allow for an African peacekeeping force to prop up the government and in 2007, in part to allow for the peacekeepers to be supplied with weapons and military equipment.

The request comes ahead of a conference in London next week to discuss measures to tackle instability in Somalia and piracy off its shores.

Morale booster?

"The Somali government wants to buy its own tanks and modern weapons to crush al-Shabaab," government spokesperson Abdirahman Osman told Reuters.

Al-Shabaab, which professed loyalty to al-Qaeda several years ago, relinquished control of the coastal capital in August, under pressure from the African Union's Amisom force.

The rebels continue to hold swathes of central and southern Somalia but are being squeezed out of some areas by Kenyan and Ethiopian troops.

Al-Shabaab spokesperson Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage led a rally in support of al-Qaeda in the rebel-controlled town of Elasha, 15km outside the capital, on Monday.

"Let Somali participants not waste time at the London conference. They intend to colonise Somalia," he told hundreds of residents from the town.

Some residents said they had been forced to take to the streets. One said the militants had driven through Elasha on Sunday in cars mounted with loud speakers ordering business owners to close their doors on Monday or face punishment.

"We hate al-Shabaab, how can we love al-Qaeda," said one mother-of-six, declining to be named in fear of a reprisal attack.

Somalia is a hotspot in the US-led was on militant Islam and the al-Qaeda-al-Shabaab merge appeared a calculated bid to restore morale and reinforce each other's relevance after testing periods for both.

"The [al-Qaeda] announcement seems to suggest that the al-Qaeda core is looking to cement its relationship with jihadi affiliates outside of South Asia and shows how East Africa is moving to the centre of global security concerns," said Robert Crowley of Janusian risk consultants.

Britain has warned it is only a matter of time before Islamist militants trained in Somalia strike on British soil.

NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Get fit on a budget

It’s time to throw the “I can’t afford to exercise” excuse out the window.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

The basics of BASE jumping
Tips for paddling your first Dusi
Climbing the world’s largest stone arch
Awesome extreme sports people

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be in the mood to philosophize and socialize and expand your mind on various discussions and group activities. You could...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.