STORY: SOMALIA / DJIBOUTIAN TROOPS PATROLLING
SOURCE: AU/UN IST
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CREDIT REQUIRED: AU/UN IST
LANGUAGE: FRENCH/ SOMALI /NATS
DATELINE: 18 NOVEMBER 2012, BELET WYENE, SOMALIA
1. Wide shot, AMISOM Djiboutian troops on a Humvee patrolling
2. Wide shot, AMISOM Djiboutian troops walking
3. Med shot, Djiboutian soldier carrying a gun
As the morning sun turns on the heat in Beletwyene, the capital of the Hiraan region of Somalia, Djiboutian troops hit the dusty trails patrolling as a way of keeping security in the area.
They are part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) tasked with bring stability to Somalia after over two decades of civil war and a host of militia activities.
The AU mission has been fighting off the al Shabaab militia; an Islamic extremist group that had taken over parts of the Somalia since 2007, so far their mission is yielding results, having pushed the Islamic extremist out of most major cities and towns.
In downtown Beletwyene, there is relative calm with the ousting of al Shabaab, but like most areas they have fled from, the group has turned to non-conventional ways of causing havoc on the population, planting Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s) and suicide bombings.
The Ethiopia Defense Force liberated Beletwyene in December 2011 and still maintains a presence on the ground, although they are not part of the UN sponsored African Union mission. Over the last six months AMISOM’s Djiboutian contingent has secured downtown Beletwyene and are increasing their area of control around periphery of the town and the small villages that surround it.
SOUNDBITE (French) Captain Mohamed Mohammed Yusuf Kayad, AMISOM Djibouti Contingent:
“There have been incidents but not major ones, these terrorist actions have been small explosions like a week ago there was a grenade attack but no one was injured.”
Various former pro-government militias could be seen with arms in town as well helping with security as shopkeepers open their stalls to business. There is an informal curfew from 5 am to about 11am that allows for the AMISOM and Ethiopian troops to do daily morning sweeps for IEDs that might have been planted by al Shabaab sympathizers.
SOUNDBITE (Somali) Ali Omar Sharif, Beletwyene resident:
Even though there is a curfew the situation generally is ok, we hear small-arms fire, but the situation in town is almost ok.
The Djiboutian contingent fighting al Shabaab in Central Somalia are part of a larger force with troops from Uganda, Burundi, Kenyan and Sierra Leone, all battling the Al Qaeda linked group across Somalia.
SOUNDBITE (Somali) Abdi Hakim Mahamuud, Beletwyene resident:
“With the arrival of the Djiboutian really there is a difference. It feels like there is some sort of order. Before we could not move freely and easily. We are brothers and we speak the same language.”
With the achievements on the security front by the Somali National Army with support from AMISOM, Somalia now has and elected president and a new government working to bring peace and security to all parts of the country. Somalia had been without a functioning government since 1991.