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ICP Asks UK's Rycroft of Abuses in Marka, Somalia, He Says Resolution Will Help

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 28 -- When the UN Security Council adopted a Somalia resolution days after allegations of reprisal killings by AMISOM in Marka, Inner City Press on July 28 asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft:

Inner City Press: On Somalia, there are a lot of Al Shabaab attacks, there have also been some recent allegations of a reprisal attack by AMISOM. And the UN said they asked the African Union. But given the increasing support in relation with the UN, what should be done to help the African Union forces don’t commit abuses while fighting Al Shabaab?

Amb Rycroft: "So the very clear message from this resolution is first of all that AMISOM does need to get stronger in its robust response to some attacks. But it does need to do so in a way that has absolute clarity about command and control. And we’re looking to see that improve through the mission statement in this resolution.
"And in terms of allegation of any inappropriate behaviour by any members of AMISOM, or the other UN peacekeeping operations, all of those allegations need to be followed up rapidly and robustly, and we are putting in place through this resolution and through the work that the African Union has done, measures that will allow the African Union to get a tighter grip on these sorts of allegations."

  The resolution itself, while "welcoming the AU's investigation of allegations of sexual violence allegedly perpetrated by some AMISOM troops," expresses "its disappointment that the AU did not receive full cooperation from all AMISOM troop contributing countries in carrying out its investigation, and calling on the AU and troop contributing countries to ensure that allegations are properly investigated and appropriate follow-up action is taken."

 We'll see.

Back on May 8 when the UN's outgoing humanitarian coordinator for Somalia Philippe Lazzarini held a press conference, Inner City Press asked him about the impact of money transfer and remittance being cut off, about the future of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya -- and about Puntland and Somaliland, where people fleeing Yemen are landing. Video here.

  Lazzarini said that remittances have been cut from the UK, US, Australia and more recently Kenya; the latter country might reinstate some of the money transfer companies, he said. Returns to Somalia from Dadaab should be voluntary. 

  In response to Inner City Press' question about the involvement of some parts of the UN, and of the International Organization for Migration in screening refugees including for “counter-terrorism,” Lazzarini said that the government of Somalia is concerned about returnees who might have joined certain groups while in Yemen. Can you say, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula? There is more transparency needed, however, particularly from IOM.

  Lazzarini has previously answered Inner City Press about Somaliland's airspace. On May 8 when Inner City Press asked about the UN's dealings with Somaliland and Puntland, he said it is a big topic, but concretely the deadly attack on UNICEF in Puntland means one can no longer say Puntland more safe than, say, Mogadishu. But what about Somaliland? We will have more on this.

  Lazzarini is headed next to Lebanon; we'll continue to cover his and the UN's work there, and wish him luck.


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