‘Somalia needs less guns, more food'

Thursday March 25 2010

By Risdel Kasasira

Kampala

Sending more peacekeepers to Somalia will not bring peace to the war-torn country unless the poor humanitarian conditions are improved, the UPDF Commander of Land Forces, Lt. Gen Katumba Wamala warned yesterday.

Gen. Wamala, who was addressing a meeting of senior Somali government officials in Kampala, said Somalis are likely to lose confidence in the transitional government of Sheikh Sharif Ahmed due to poor social service delivery.

“The problem of Somalia cannot be solved by having thousands of guns in Mogadishu. We need a holistic approach to this conflict. People need water, they need drugs, and those in the camps need food,” he said.

Gen. Wamala, under whose docket the UPDF contingent in Somalia falls, said the security situation has improved but in isolation with social service delivery which he said would not help to end the two-decade conflict.

The conflict between Islamist insurgent groups has displaced nearly 170,000 people in the capital, Mogadishu.

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However, the deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, Mr Wafula Wamunyinyi, said the African Union (AU) has prioritised capacity building to support transitional government institutions.

He said the AU, which is mandated to build capacity of the transitional government institutions, has identified public service and security as the key areas to reactivate.

The Somalia Minister for Labour and Human Resources Development, Mr Mohamed Abdi Hayir, said Somalis alone cannot bring stability in their country. “We need your support. African brothers are those who can support you when you are in a critical condition,” he said.

Meanwhile, the army yesterday said they were aware of the presence of the suspected al-Shabaab member, who was arrested by Kenyan immigration authorities in Busia, while trying to enter the country after spending days in Uganda.

Defence and Army Spokesperson, Lt. Col Felix Kulayigye said the Force knew of the man’s presence but did not know he was a criminal.

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