AU warns of Al-Shabaab to shame troops
11 February 2016, 21:14
Mogadishu - Top African Union envoy in Somalia Francisco Madeira on Wednesday warned of new plot by the Islamist militants, Al-Shabaab, to discredit forces serving under the pan African body's mandate in the Horn of Africa nation.
The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia said the insurgents who have waged a near daily attacks in Somalia are planning to commit atrocities and blame the AU peacekeeping mission, AMISOM.
Madeira told a news conference in Mogadishu that the plot involves Al-Shabaab terrorists committing atrocities, disguised in uniforms stolen from AMISOM troops.
"Al-Shabaab is now trying to utilize uniforms and other things they have stolen from AMISOM troops to disguise themselves as AMISOM troops and commit atrocities against the population then blame it on AMISOM," Madeira told journalists in Mogadishu.
Regional troops are fighting the Al-Qaida allied militant group in Somalia as part of the UN-backed African Union force there.
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Al-Shabaab, which carried out a deadly attack on Kenyan soldiers on Jan. 15 continues to pose a regional threat, including plotting or carrying out attacks in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, as well as inside Somalia.
Madeira who is also the head of AMISOM said the insurgents plan to strike in communities in the liberated areas that are currently enjoying peace, thereby tarnishing the image of the Mission.
He called on members of the public to remain vigilant and guard against such manipulations.
"If you see any suspicious behavior by anybody in AMISOM uniform, report it immediately to your immediate authorities so that we can all be able to defeat this heinous enemy who does not respect life, who does not want the development of the people of Somalia," Madeira warned.
He said in addition to having a strict code of conduct, the AU forces have profound respect for the Somali population, observe human rights and respect the rule of law.
The Islamist fighters have lost a string of key towns and ports in recent months to 22,000-strong AU force, which fights alongside government troops.