“Our mission here is to degrade Al-Shabaab and bring peace to Somalia. While we have all protocols to deal with Covid-19, we are very ready to ensure that we achieve our mission,” Brig. Gen. Otto said.
COVID-19 | SECURITY
MOGADISHU —As the world battles against the global health pandemic of COVID-19, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has put in place solid interventions and preventative measures to contain the virus, while concentrating on its mandate to ensure peace and security in Somalia.
Brigadier General Richard Otto, who is Commander of Sector 1, under which Mogadishu falls, said that while the coronavirus has come with obvious disruptions, AMISOM soldiers are prepared to deal with this public health threat while forging ahead with the mission of protecting Somalia from the threat of terrorists.
"Our mission here is to degrade Al-Shabaab and bring peace to Somalia. While we have all protocols to deal with Covid-19, we are very ready to ensure that we achieve our mission," Brig. Gen. Otto said.
AMISOM Sector 1 houses AMISOM Force and Mission headquarters as well as the United Nations, diplomatic missions and international organisations accredited by the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS).
To protect its staff, AMISOM leadership instituted measures which include minimal staff movement, observing of social distancing, wearing protective gear, regular washing of hands with soap, and use of hand sanitizers in all its camps.
"The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia Ambassador Francisco Caetano Jose Madeira and the AMISOM Force Commander have set up COVID-19 task force teams in the sectors, which feed into the main co-ordinating team in mission headquarters. There are clear protocols and guidelines in writing on how to deal with the pandemic," Brig. Gen. Otto added.
These guidelines, including daily temperature checks on all personnel, are followed not only in Mogadishu and the Banadir region but in Lower Shabelle towns of Afgoye, Qoryoole, Marka, and Barawe.
At AMISOM Level 2 Hospital—which successfully treated its first Covid-19 case of a Somali student who arrived from China in March 2020, —strict preventive measures are being adhered to
All personnel stationed at entry and exit points are kitted in protective gear, while visitors are screened before they are allowed in.
"Before we let anyone in, they have to wash hands with soap and water. We then take their body temperature and record them in our books in case we will need to do contact tracing in the future," said Private Laetitia Namugala, a nurse at AMISOM Level 2 Hospital.
The hospital's commanding officer, Captain Doctor Gideon Nuwagira, said the hospital continues to attend to all medical conditions but any suspected cases of COVID-19 receive the utmost priority.
He says whatever is being implemented at the Level 2 hospital is also being replicated elsewhere at level 1 health facilities on the frontlines, and that all medical personnel is vigilant to quickly detect any suspected cases.
In the face of all this, the work to fulfill AMISOM's mandate goes on unabated.
"The morale of our troops is high in all our areas of operation. Just recently in Barawe, we neutralized a threat involving two Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices. That's how alert we are," Brig. Gen Otto said.