Mogadishu, Somalia — The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) handed over service and support equipment to the Somali National Army (SNA) which was in turn donated to AMISOM by the Chinese government. The equipment was deemed vital to the continued efforts of the SNA’s security operations in the southern portion of Somalia where both the SNA and AMISOM are locked in a bloody counter insurgency campaign with the al-Qaeda-linked Harakat al-Shabaab terror group.
The SNA acquired three mobile kitchens, kevlar helmets, tents, and sleeping gear from AMISOM for the purpose of outfitting the SNA troops heading out to Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) in the Lower Shabelle region where fighting between the SNA and al-Shabaab has increased in recent weeks, especially along the Kenyan/Somali border.
Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Caetano Madeira, in a ceremony to thank the Chinese government had this to say; “We believe that this is a symbolic little gift from our partners the Chinese, which will go along way in alleviating the conditions of work, the conditions of operations of our Somali soldiers.”
Ambassador Madeira handed the equipment hand receipt of ownership over to the Somali Chief of Defence Forces, Major General Mohamed Ahmed Jimaale who had this to say; “This is very good equipment for the Somali National Army. We were in dire need of such equipment.” Major General Jimaale went to express that this equipment will “only enhance the living conditions of the SNA soldiers” under his command.
Some critics of the Chinese military equipment donations are claiming that these donations are in fact breaking the United Nations arms embargo against Somalia in place since January 1992. Stating that the U.N. arms embargo clearly states that “All Member States shall immediately implement a general and complete arms embargo on all deliveries of weapons and military equipment to Somalia until the Council decides otherwise.” Thus implying that due to this now out-dated portion of the United Nations arms embargo, both countries have violated the sanction. However these critics are not up to date on the latest U.N resolutions as the embargo was ratified in March 2013 the open-ended arms embargo was amended at the behest of the United Kingdom to allow weapons and arms supplies to be given to the Somali Government and its forces which may have allowed the UK to position itself in the front running for the bid to secure several lucrative oil and natural resource contracts within the war-torn country.
Excerpt of UNSC resolution #2093 (2013):
“The Security Council resolution would allow sales of such weapons as automatic assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, but leaves in place a ban on surface-to-air missiles, large-caliber guns, howitzers, cannons and mortars as well as anti-tank guided weapons, mines and night vision weapon sights.”
One can begin to paint a picture that the United Nations Security Council to include members of the “P-5” are pushing hard for the eradication of al-Shabaab in what can be seen as a tailored support response by the West, and the East, to prop up its allies within the region and reinforce the African Union and the Somali government as the leaders of this counter-insurgency against al-Shabaab, and not so much a clandestine ‘shadow war’ that some critics have been adamantly implying.
Feature image courtesy of: Intelligence Briefs