ATMIS IED conference


Mitigation of the threat posed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) was the sole agenda item for a conference in Mogadishu.

Senior officials from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and key stakeholders met in the Somali capital to take stock of the current IED situation in the troubled East African country. This, in turn, informed the gathering of a comprehensive IED threat mitigation strategy,

Among the key stakeholders were Somali security forces, the European Union Training Mission in Somalia (EUTM Somalia) and the United Kingdom Mission Support Team (UK-MST) to ATMIS.

Speaking during the closing session of the three-day conference, ATMIS Force Commander Lieutenant General Diomede Ndegeya noted the mission’s operations and activities should be evaluated. This would assist in finding solutions to the challenges and problems of IEDs.

“To mitigate the IED threat will require military actors involving the Somali authorities working with communities to strengthen governance and support stabilisation efforts,” Ndegeya said adding the IED threat necessitated “innovative” counter measures.

Conference noted despite UNMAS to better ATMIS counter-IED capability through training, mentoring and equipment support, IEDs were still a significant threat.

“Our ability to come up with solutions and enhance counter-IED capability is critical to advancing the mission’s mandate,” Ndegeya said when opening the conference.

UNMAS Head of Programme Unit Simon Porter called for swift implementation of recommendations and plans made at the conference to bolster the implementation of the mission mandate. This was given further impetus when taken against tight timelines set out in the UN Security Council Resolution 2628 for the Somalia transition period.

“What is important in the coming weeks and months is we take forward recommendations and plans made here and we look at how they are going to be operationalised,” he said adding “We don’t have a lot of time to sit back and think”.

UNMAS Chief of Mine Action Programme, Jean Guy Lavoie, noted the conference was “about doing more, doing better, being more efficient, working together better and delivering on a new mandate”.