Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Somalia wants arms embargo lifted

13 February 2012, 17:37

Mogadishu - Somalia's government called on Monday for the lifting of an arms embargo to help it resist an al-Qaeda-backed Islamist insurgency.

The appeal follows al-Qaeda's declaration last week that the Somali militant group al-Shabaab was joining its ranks, which raised concerns the Somali rebels' weakened campaign might be re-energised.

Security experts speculate al-Shabaab might be encouraged to carry out an al-Qaeda-style attack, perhaps on neighbouring Kenya which has sent troops to Somalia fight the Islamist insurgency.

Urging foreign powers to help, Mogadishu asked the international community to "lift the arms embargo on Somalia so that it could defend the country" and "increase and reinforce the Somali National Army".

"We ... believe that their union will increase the insecurity in Somalia, east Africa and the rest of the world and that Somalia risks becoming an al-Qaeda base in east Africa," Somalia's information ministry said in a statement.

The United Nations imposed the arms embargo in 1992, the year after clan warlords overthrew dictator Siad Barre and plunged the country into a civil conflict that still festers.

The embargo has been amended several times, including in 2006 to allow for an African peacekeeping force to prop up the government and in 2007, in part to allow for the peacekeepers to be supplied with weapons and military equipment.

The request comes ahead of a conference in London next week to discuss measures to tackle instability in Somalia and piracy off its shores.

Morale booster?

"The Somali government wants to buy its own tanks and modern weapons to crush al-Shabaab," government spokesperson Abdirahman Osman told Reuters.

Al-Shabaab, which professed loyalty to al-Qaeda several years ago, relinquished control of the coastal capital in August, under pressure from the African Union's Amisom force.

The rebels continue to hold swathes of central and southern Somalia but are being squeezed out of some areas by Kenyan and Ethiopian troops.

Al-Shabaab spokesperson Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage led a rally in support of al-Qaeda in the rebel-controlled town of Elasha, 15km outside the capital, on Monday.

"Let Somali participants not waste time at the London conference. They intend to colonise Somalia," he told hundreds of residents from the town.

Some residents said they had been forced to take to the streets. One said the militants had driven through Elasha on Sunday in cars mounted with loud speakers ordering business owners to close their doors on Monday or face punishment.

"We hate al-Shabaab, how can we love al-Qaeda," said one mother-of-six, declining to be named in fear of a reprisal attack.

Somalia is a hotspot in the US-led was on militant Islam and the al-Qaeda-al-Shabaab merge appeared a calculated bid to restore morale and reinforce each other's relevance after testing periods for both.

"The [al-Qaeda] announcement seems to suggest that the al-Qaeda core is looking to cement its relationship with jihadi affiliates outside of South Asia and shows how East Africa is moving to the centre of global security concerns," said Robert Crowley of Janusian risk consultants.

Britain has warned it is only a matter of time before Islamist militants trained in Somalia strike on British soil.


Join in the conversation on News24 Kenya’s Facebook page.

Get the latest news by following us on Twitter


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Leave ODM if you are unhappy, Rai...

Leave ODM if you are not happy, Raila Odinga tells Senator. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Former Assistant Minister joins J...

A former Assistant Minister has quit PNU and joined the Jubilee Party. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
DP Ruto intervenes as Kerio Valle...

DP William Ruto will visit Kerio Valley to try solve never-ending clashes between local residents. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
ODM MP chased down by angry Kibra...

Kibra MP Ken Okoth had a hard time in his constituency after angry youth pelted him with stones. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Prepare for DP Ruto fight in 2022...

An MP has warned that the Kalenjin Community will not stand back and watch as DP Ruto is duped ahead of the 2022 polls. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Be careful who you deal with, DP ...

Watch out for your political future, DP William Ruto has been warned. Read more...