“I do not see why our soldiers have to die far from home in Somalia. We’ve had a long time civil war, but it has ended. Our soldiers have had enough of war and should be given a chance to relax”.
"If they ( Somali’s) do not want peace, the world should leave them alone,” [This was a complaint a Burundian national aired when asked about his feelings after the death of 11 Burundian soldiers died in Mogadishu]
Somalia, the war ravaged Horn of Africa nation, has been in a state of chaos and anarchy since the fall of dictator Said Barre in 1991. In fact, Somalia has experienced one of the worst social, economic and political situations ever to occur in modern times.
Rather surprisingly however, is the fact that the country does not seem ready to embrace peace.
The recent death of 11 Burundian peacekeepers reminds the world the brutality with which the American Marines were killed in Mogadishu in 1990s. Since then, the US refused to send or get involved in any serious peace talks with the Somalia.
So, how much more of Somalis’ brutality and abhorrence of peace should the world tolerate? Should the people of the country be left alone to sort out their own problems?
Getting the right answer to these questions are not easy, but de spite the apparent heartlessness of this opinion, I believe that its time the world left then to their own devices.
The people of Somalia have lived in a state of hopelessness for too long- just watch CNN, with its images of starving children, long enough and you’ll come to hate Islamist militias and warlords causing all the trouble in Somalia.
They have caused bedlam; they are not ready to allow a government to establish itself so that sanity can be restored in the country.
These people are called terrorists in the West but I beg to differ. You cannot kill your own children, parents, relatives and friends and claim to be a terrorist- I believe that they are simply desperate people who have failed to calm down, come to their senses and end the political impasse in the country.
The existence of multiple militant groups, with their own agendas, further explains this impasse. Remember when Somali parliamentarians went to Nairobi, to negotiate peace and ended up political asylum seekers instead? That action angered the Kenyan government, which vowed to send them home by force.
“Although these people are in our hotels, and of course paying us money, I will have to order them out of the country. They have to go back to their country and serve the people of Somalia,” said Kenyan Minister of Foreign Affairs, name while answering MP’s queries about the presence of the Somali MPs.
The MPs decided to stay in Kenya after causing pandemonium by coming to blows after failing to agree on certain issues. Chairs, books, pens were used as weapons as the world watched in shock.
The implication is simple- they have run short of ideas and all the violence on display is simply a symptom of this. Professor Francis Imbuga, one of most renowned African writers, put it right in one of his books, ‘Betrayal in The City’…”that when the madness of the entire nation disturbs a solitary mind of a person, it is not enough to say that the man is mad”.
It is therefore against such a heated background that the African Union made the brave decision to send peacekeepers.
This after leaving the Somali’s to their won devices for years.
In fact, it wasn’t until Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia, allegedly to check the Islamist threat, that the world’s attention was focused on the nation again.
The well-armed Ethiopian army has already left the country, and the departures of these troops have compounded an already tragic situation.
The AU sent a force of 3,800, contributed from Burundi and Uganda to help settle the situation. This force, I believe was, and is, too slim to return sanity to the vast ‘militia ridden nation.
The small size of the African force in the Somalia will always make it vulnerable to militia attacks, and unless it is increased, the two countries (Burundi and Uganda) will have to eventually withdraw their forces.
Two important things must be addressed. One: the size of the AU peacekeeping force, which must be increased.
And secondly, the real reason for other nation’s reluctance to send their forces in the country.
All this must go hand in hand with availing enough resources for the present mission; that is, of course, if the world deems restoring sanity in Somalia as a priority.