Somali MPs appeal for international help

Wednesday July 15 2009

By LUCAS BARASA and OLIVEER MATHENGE

Fifty Somali MPs and civil society leaders on Wednesday urged the international community to move with speed and help the transitional federal government establish key institutions to end chaos in the country.

They also want the mandate of the African Union forces deployed to Somalia changed to enable them fight militia groups.

Addressing journalists in Nairobi, the MPs warned that the skirmishes could spread to the whole region if left to continue.

Led by Awad Ashareh, Abdirashid Gabyow, Mohamoud Nur and Abdi Hassan, the leaders cited formation of a strong judiciary, armed forces and sea guards as key to bringing peace to the troubled horn of Africa country.

“We appeal to the international community to provide immediate tangible security, financial and political support to TFG to discharge its responsibility,” Mr Shareh who read a statement on behalf of the group said.

They said Somalia needs help to rehabilitate militias and encouraged investors to also help explore rich marine, livestock and gas resources in the country.

They denied that the money being used by Somalis to construct houses in Kenya was from piracy and instead said they were from Somalis in the diaspora who remit home billions of shillings.

The leaders further called for the trial of suspected sea pirates in semi-autonomous Puntland region in Somalia and not Kenya and Yemeni.

In a letter to the Transitional Federal Parliament Speaker Sheikh Aden Nur, the leaders condemned the ongoing fighting in Somalia, kidnapping of foreigners and sea piracy.

Accusing Al Shabaab militias and Hizbul Islam of being behind the chaos, they urged the TFG to ensure safety of MPs so that they could continue with their legislative agendas.

Political leaders and ministers are among those who have been recently killed in Somalia.

The leaders urged Somalis to drop their arms for peace and reconciliation.

Separately, the Somali government said it has registered significant success in the fight against the rebels.

Somali ambassador to Kenya Mohamed Ali Ameriko told journalists in Nairobi that business was booming in most parts of Somalia and major airports are operational.

The government troops, he added, has been receiving a number of defectors from the Al Shabab militia.

Mr Ameriko commended the Kenyan Government efforts to ensure that its borders are not used to transport Al Shabab recruits to Somalia.

“The Al Shabab want to destabilise Somalia and the problem they are creating in Somalia if is not stopped now then it will spread not through Mogadishu, not through Somalia but eventually it will go to the neighbouring country,” said Mr Ameriko.

He added that the government is working hard and was gaining ground but called on the international community to increase military and humanitarian aid. He also welcomed the recent communique by the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) to blacklist businessmen in member countries who were sponsoring the fighting.

Kenya and other regional countries under Igad, frustrated by violent uprising against the Somalia government, have opted to blacklist suspected financiers as they ponder over possible sanctions including freezing assets of the insurgents.

An extra ordinary council of ministers meeting at the weekend, to immediately impose sanctions on individuals and entities in and outside Somalia who have become obstacles to peace in the horn of Africa country. The sanctions will include travel bans, freezing of assets and other measures.