The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Ambassador Mohamet Annadif, has welcomed reports indicating that access for humanitarian workers to the population in southern Somalia has improved following successful operations by the Somali National Army backed by African Union troops to push the al Shabaab
terror group out of key towns in the region.
According to the latest Humanitarian Bulletin issued by the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there has been a gradual increase in the international presence in some areas, enabling aid groups to bring in more relief supplies and better monitor projects.
The report states that aid deliveries from Mogadishu to the Lower Shabelle region are also expected to improve following the ejection of the al Shabaab from the regional capital of Jowhar in December.
It notes that attacks on humanitarian workers had declined by 70% in the months of November and December, and that the improvements in the security situation had allowed up to 2000 people to return to their homes in Kismayo.
“This report demonstrates that AMISOM is fulfilling its mandate to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the people of Somalia,” said Amb. Annadif. “AMISOM is committed to the welfare of the Somali people and we will continue to work with the Somali government to improve security across the country. We are helping to train the Somali National Army and the Somali Police Force so they can secure the country in the long term,” he added.
Over the last 18 months, with help from AMISOM, Somali national security forces have pushed the al Shabaab out of much of south and central Somalia. In the last three months of last year, the extremist group, which severely restricts access for aid agencies in areas it controls, was forced to flee from its former strongholds in the southern port city of Kismayo as well as Jowhar, 90 km north of the capital, Mogadishu.