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SOMALIA: AU VOWS TO STEP UP EFFORTS AGAINST IED THREATS

MOGADISHU, The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and international partners wrapped up a meeting in Mogadishu on Wednesday, vowing to reduce threats posed by improvised explosive devices in the country.

The two-day meeting, aimed at devising strategies on countering potential threat from IEDs, also agreed to the formation of multi-stakeholder teams in all AMISOM sectors, which would come up with quick solutions to mitigate rising threats from explosives.

Charles Tai Gituai, AMISOM's deputy force commander in charge of operations and planning, expressed concern at the increasing incidents of explosions from IEDs.

"The best weapons of course against IEDs is a well-trained soldier who practices correct drills, maintains conscious situational awareness of his environment during the convoy movement, consciousness of the threat, listens to the intuition or the seventh sense, observant, and able to understand and reconcile the fact that this threat is real," said Gituai, according to a statement issued by the AU mission.

The training of AMISOM troops in the safe disposal of explosive ordnances was bearing fruit, he said, adding that troops are increasingly finding IEDs and successfully proceeding with disposal operations.

The meeting, which was a follow-up to a similar one held in April, discussed specific threats and explored ways of bolstering efforts to reduce them.

Participants agreed to intensify sensitization of local populations on the impact of IEDs, especially along main supply routes.

"This is a threat that is being effectively utilized by the enemy," said Simon Mulongo, AMISOM's deputy head of mission. "We must go after it and defeat it."

Mulongo said arbitrary use of IEDs is inflicting huge damage on civilian populations and the military.

He called for increased focus on eliminating the IED threat, through the development of a clear and effective counter-IED strategy and the use of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK