What you need to know:
- The AU said Friday its senior officials were in Baidoa in southwest Somalia Thursday for meetings on strengthening security and cooperation ahead of upcoming elections in the country.
The African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) has kicked off key meetings to seek ways of enhancing security during the elections in the Horn of Africa nation.
The AU said Friday its senior officials were in Baidoa in southwest Somalia Thursday for meetings on strengthening security and cooperation ahead of upcoming elections in the country.
Simon Mulongo, Amisom deputy head of the mission, said they have held meetings with the AMISOM police and military component and discussed issues of re-aligning and harmonising mission's activities in the region and in the sector.
"Particularly, we looked at how the Formed Police Unit, together with Individual Police Officers, can better collaborate with Somali police to ensure that they strengthen matters of policing, especially as we plan for a secure electoral process in the whole of Southwest State," Mulongo said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
The Amisom team also met with South West State senior leaders and agreed on how South West State Police are going to be organized and re-organized for the purposes of enhancing their policing activities.
Somalia is preparing for crucial national elections, and Amisom is mandated to provide security during the process in a spirit of consensus and collaboration with the Somali security agencies to ensure the process is secured.
According to the AU mission, the Amisom police component and the Somali Police Force (SPF) are both parts of the national election taskforce, the highest security team tasked with securing the elections.
The AU mission said the task force will have satellite command centers across the country including Baidoa in Southwest State.
Augustine Kailie, Amisom police commissioner, reiterated the importance of working closely with Somali forces to improve security to, during and in the aftermath of the electoral process.
"We came here (Baidoa) to harmonize our operations. Elections are approaching, so we have to provide joint security. The police will be involved, the military will be involved, the civilian component will also be involved. Because of that, we have put modalities in place on how to jointly provide security for the elections," Kailie said.
Analysts say Somalia is facing multiple threats to its stability from continued terrorist attacks, increased political polarisation, the Covid-19 pandemic, the worst desert locust invasion in decades and floods.
These threats, the experts say, have resulted in food insecurity for an estimated 1.3 million people and increased the number of internally displaced persons.