LAST week, insurgents in Somalia killed two Ugandan peacekeepers in Mogadishu. This brings to seven the number of Ugandan peacekeepers who have died on that mission since it started in March 2007. Insurgents are targeting the wrong people â€” peacekeepers who are seeking to assist all Somalis irrespective of their clan or party.
Peacekeepers have no enemy. Their real enemy is the conflict. The insurgents are wrong to treat the peacekeepers as enemies.
The mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is to foster dialogue and reconciliation among sections of the population. This is what Somalia needs most as it will be the basis for sustainable stability. The mission is also supposed to assist in the implementation of the National Security and Stabilisation Plan. National security should be the concern of everybody. Unfortunately, some groups have chosen not to respect this mandate.
Although the UN and the African Union facilitated the signing of the Djibouti Peace Agreement, the insurgents have continued to violate it. On August 18, while the High Level Committee for the implementation of the agreement between the Transitional Federal Government and the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia was signing a commitment Note in Djibouti, the Islamists were conducting attacks.
Kismayo, about 500km south of Mogadishu, became a scene of two days of fighting that left at least 35 people dead and over 70 injured. The UN condemned the attack but the damage had been done. This calls for the integration of the military objectives of the military wing and those of the political wing.
The Ugandan-manned AMISOM Hospital treats about 400 patients every day. The UPDF secured the seaport that used to anchor only 62 ships daily but now receives over 170 ships. Mogadishu International Airport that used to get three flights in a week now receives eight flights daily. These are important contributions of AMISOM to the peace process that every Somali should appreciate regardless of where they fall in the political divide.
Insurgents must, therefore, stop attacking peacekeepers. If they claim to be fighting to improve the situation in Somalia, then they must team up with those who have come to assist.
The writer is the UPDF/Defence spokesperson
Insurgents wrong to attack peacekeepers