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Somalia remains on ‘positive trajectory’ despite persistent security threats: UN official

New York Despite Somalia's persistent security threats, recurrent political crises, capacity constraints and the difficulties in navigating political obstacles to its reform agenda, the Horn of Africa country remains on a positive trajectory, senior UN official said.

Briefing the Security Council on Wednesday, Deputy Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) Raisedon Zenenga reported that the country had made significant progress on its economic and security sector reforms. There had also been progress on the inclusive political agenda as well, including the constitutional review process and preparations for the universal suffrage elections.

The Federal Government has decided to apply the same rigorous approach to bring accountability and transparency to the security sector, he said, noting, among other recent steps, the completion in March of biometric registration of all Somali National Army soldiers. All 16,000 soldiers registered were now receiving their salaries directly into their bank accounts.

This has cut out middle men, reduced corruption, and ensures regular payment of salaries to military personnel. It also paves the way for rightsizing the National Army, said Zenenga.

In parallel with these security sector reforms, the federal government had launched military operations in Lower Shabelle region to advance the Transition Plan, degrade al-Shabaab in strongholds that are contiguous to Mogadishu and thereby halt the recent increase in al-Shabaab attacks in the capital.

Yet, Somalia continued to grapple with significant challenges, he said, explaining that the federal government's reform efforts have encountered inevitable resistance. The economic reforms and security sector reforms entail dismantling a war economy that had flourished for decades.

There are many vested interests which pose obstacles to increased accountability. Taking on these vested interests requires not only the determination, which the federal government has shown, but an inclusive approach of building relationships with all stakeholders to demonstrate that the reforms will yield benefits for the whole nation, Zenenga stressed.

Source: International Islamic News Agency