As joint military operations are underway across many parts of Somalia to recover territories from Al-Shabaab, African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) and Somali National Army (SNA) officers met to devise ways to counter Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), which are laid by the defeated and retreating militants.
IEDs are laid indiscriminately on Main Supply Routes and other roads, leading to civilian casualties, and disrupting the movement of goods and people. To mitigate this, ATMIS and SNA troops are enhancing counter-IED capabilities, including the capacity to apply the elements of speed and surprise when acting on real-time actionable intelligence.
“The reason why we should have innovative and all-inclusive workable approaches towards combating the menace of IEDs is that Al Shabaab tactics keep changing. Our thinking should not be parochial but wider, more innovative, and creative,” said Acting ATMIS Force Commander, Brig. Gen. Keith Katungi on the sidelines of a three-day planning and coordination workshop that was facilitated by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and supported by the United Kingdom Mission Support Team to Somalia.
The 64 officers attending the workshop focused on creating a more permissive operating environment for ATMIS and SNA by enhancing counter-IED operations as well as mitigating the impact of IEDs on CIMIC operations in and around liberated areas.
“The ongoing SNA-ATMIS joint military operations have inflicted high casualties on Al-Shabaab and large territories have been liberated. However, in response, we are witnessing increased employment of IEDs by the terrorist groups, and this calls for appropriate Counter-IED measures to mitigate this threat,” said ATMIS Chief Force Engineer Col. Davidson Nwogu.
The workshop was a follow-up to a stakeholders’ conference held in June this year to formulate a framework for developing a comprehensive strategy to mitigate the threat posed by IEDs in the implementation of the ATMIS mandate and the Concept of Operations.
“I believe we have a solution to the IEDs that the terrorists are deploying. We’re on our way to defeating the terrorists and their tactics. To do that, we must stay focused and stick to our objectives,” said Lt.Col. Mohamed Mohamud Awale, who represented the SNA Chief of Defence Forces.
The workshop made several recommendations on planning and information management to enhance the agility of the joint forces ahead of the implementation of phase two of the Concept of Operations (CONOPS).