The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has handed over to the Somali Federal Government weapons of war captured from Al-Shabaab terrorists. The weapons, which included Rocket Propelled Grenade launchers, general-purpose machine guns and assault rifles, were captured during joint operations by AMISOM and the Somali security forces. The Head of AMISOM, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, symbolically handed over the weapons to Somali officials on Thursday in Mogadishu, Somalia. Ambassador Madeira said the handover by AMISOM complied with United Nations procedures relating to the handling of small arms and light weapons.
The UN Security Council mandates AMISOM to coordinate with the Somali authorities and international partners to ensure safe and effective management and storage of captured weapons. Ambassador Madeira said, “This shows that we not only have the will, but we are making all efforts to comply with these resolutions.” On display were various weapons, part of a larger cache of captured small arms and light weapons, that will be handed over to Somali authorities. “This is just a symbolic handover. We have got stores the Somali authorities will access, see and ship the weapons for safe storage,” Ambassador Madeira explained.
The AMISOM Force Commander Lt. Gen. Tigabu Yilma Wondimhunegn said AMISOM and Somali security forces were in the process of streamlining the procedure of handing over captured weapons. “Recently, we had arms and ammunition recovered especially in Lower Shabelle, and the process for their hand over is ongoing,” added Lt. Gen. Tigabu. The National Security Advisor to the President of Somalia, Abdisaid Muse Ali hailed the cooperation between AMISOM and Somali security forces, which has enabled success in operations against Al-Shabaab terrorists. “Al-Shabaab has evolved and now uses Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), instilling fear and extortion,” noted Abdisaid. The contingent commander of AMISOM’s Uganda forces, Brig Richard Otto, noted that the capture of weapons from Al-Shabaab is a tangible achievement from joint operations to degrade Al-Shabaab. “Al-Shabaab remains a threat to the defenceless population, especially those who are in areas not controlled by AMISOM and the government security forces,” noted Brig. Otto.