Somalia : African Union’s Military Strategy Challenged as Foreign Fighters Join al-Shabab


Press TV has conducted an interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, an editor at The Pan-African News Wire from Detroit, to get his take on the continuation of al-Shabab terrorists’ attacks in Somalia. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: One has to wonder that despite the joining of the forces between the African Union and the Somali soldiers, al-Shabab still seems to be wreaking havoc in the country. Is African Union capable of restoring stability?

Azikiwe: We have to look at this from a historical prospective. It’s been since December 2006 where there was an intervention into Somalia by Ethiopian troops at the edges of the United States under the previous administration of George W. Bush. In 2007, the African Union mission in Somalia (AMISOM) was created. And many of the states that were involved in that mission are allied with the US foreign policy in central as well as eastern Africa. But we see now, it represents the failure of this policy in Somalia and it extends as well into Kenya. The fighting as you mentioned in the Gedo in bay regions of Somalia has been very intense. Operation Jubba Corridor is another attempt to contain and to drive out the al-Shabab fighters, which they have not been able to do since 2009, when they brought a section of the Islamic courts union into the federal government, but al-Shabab maintained its own independence.

Press TV: One has to wonder whether the military option is a right option.

Azikiwe: Perhaps, they have waited too long. We have suggested several years ago that a serious diplomatic effort be embarked upon to bring al-Shabab into some type of the negotiated settlement to join the Somali federal government. Now with the intervention of “foreign fighters” that many say, are allied with al-Qaeda. There have been suggestions that they may be shaping their alliances towards ISIS (ISIL). So, this complicates the whole situation entirely. When you don’t have indigenous Somali fighters who have premises some of which are legitimate against Mogadishu, now with the intervention of fighters from other countries not just in Africa but throughout the entire Middle East poses a serious challenge to AMISOM and to the African Union.