The African Union requested nearly $90 million on Wednesday for its peacekeeping force in Somalia. Which is assisting its military troops in their fight against al-Shabab extremists.
Unless the funding gap is filled, the more than 19,600-strong AU force will be unable to operate properly and assist Somalia. Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, the AU commissioner for political affairs, peace, and security, told two reporters.
If the AU force is unable to operate successfully in the 21 months before the handover. Adeoye believes “al-Shabab will eventually take over the responsibilities of a state in Somalia.”
Need more attention
“The implications are huge,” he said. “And we do not want the international community to lose focus or have diverted attention away from Somalia. Because it’s been on for almost two decades.”
Adeoye said the current Somali government is doing what many in the past never did. Launch a full-scale offensive against al-Shabab instead of responding to al-Shabab attacks. And “there’s a need to encourage that offensive onslaught.”
He said a key reason for the AU financial plight is the European Union’s $60 million cut in funding because of competing interests.
Adeoye attended a high-level meeting with U.N. member nations on financing for ATMIS after speaking to the reporters. He expressed hope that all countries help fill the $89 million funding gap, especially Gulf nations, the global south and the EU.
The government of Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud declared “total war” last year on the thousands of al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremists. For more than a decade they have controlled parts of the country. Carried out devastating attacks while exploiting clan divisions. And extorting millions of dollars a year in their quest to impose an Islamic state.
The current offensive was sparked in part by local communities and militias driven to the brink by al-Shabab’s harsh taxation policies
The United States has increased its military assistance to Somalia as it has seen success in battling al-Shabab.