Somali insurgents are protesting a recent decision to increase African Union troops in towns controlled by an Islamic militant group.
Al-Shabab is the militant group that controls the towns of Lower Jubba, Hiran, Gedo, Middle Shabelle and towns in the country’s bay regions. It is upset that East African countries have sent 2,000 more troops to the country for its peacekeeping mission known as AMISOM. Leaders of the faction have now called for a holy war against the new troops described as “enemies of the country and Islam.”
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), composed of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda, is the bloc that called for the increased peacekeeper levels.
Eritrea is also a member of IGAD but is currently suspended. Officials from that country warn that increased international interference in Somalia only exacerbates the problem. “The external intervention, be it in the name of peacekeeping, be it in the name of humanitarian mission, be it in the name of combating terrorism, are the main cause of this destructive conflict in Somalia,” Eritrea Information Minister Ali Abdu told the Voice of America. “Somalia remains today fragmented and the battleground of all kinds of conflict because of external intervention mainly from Ethiopia for its intermittent military invasion in Somalia.”
Officials within the Somali government agree that the UN-supported transitional government will be weakened and support for al-Shabab will grow with more foreign troops in the country.
“A solution cannot be made by international intervention. Somalia needs their own militias, their own local people to take part against al-Shabab and to defeat al-Shabab,“ Somali parliament member Mohamed Amin Osman told the Voice of America. “Otherwise, the whole of the Horn of Africa will grow insecure.”