The EU’s Political and Security Committee has appointed Major General Charlie Stickland, a high-ranking military official in the Royal Marines, as new Operation Commander of the Operation Atalanta. He will take up his duties on 7 November 2017.
The European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Operation Atalanta contributes to the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast. The operation is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach for a peaceful, stable and democratic Somalia.
The operation also protects vessels of the World Food Programme and other vulnerable shipping, monitors fishing activities off the coast of Somalia and supports other EU missions and programmes in the region.
After the car bomb attack of 14 October 2017 in Mogadishu, Operation Atalanta, the EU Delegation in Somalia and the EU Training Mission in Somalia, provided support in particular to the United Nations to assist the victims.
The EU’s Political and Security Committee is composed of member states’ ambassadors based in Brussels.
“The attacks in Somalia’s capital mark one of the worst the city has suffered in over a decade, leading to a large number of casualties and injuries to innocent civilians” – says the text of the statement by the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini on the attacks in Mogadishu, Somalia.
“We offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wish a full recovery to those injured in the attacks.”
“At this critical political juncture in the history of Somalia, the European Union reaffirms its long term commitment to the country and its people. It will be crucial that the government remains united to defeat terrorism and strengthen security. The achievements of past years, which the international community has supported, must continue.”
“The Federal Government of Somalia and its Federal Member States must enhance their joint efforts to fight terrorism and to build peace, stability, prosperity and inclusivity in the country.”
The EU expresses its condolences to all the victims and their families.
Terrorist attacks against civilians in Mogadishu andon the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) are another attempt to undermine Somalia’s determined course towards a stable and secure country. (Photo: illustration).
The EU pays tribute to all security personnel for their commitment to rebuild Somalia and ensure a peaceful environment for the population. These attacks will not deter our strong support of AMISOM and the Somali National Security Forces in their efforts to bring security and stability to the country. The EU will continue working with the Somali authorities, the African Union and other partners to enhance stability and Somalia’s capacity to fight terrorism.
A suicide car bombing and assault by Shabaab militants on two neighbouring restaurants in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu ended on the 15th of June, in the morning with 18 dead, a government spokesman said.
“The operation is over now and the gunmen were killed by the security forces,” said Mohamed Ahmed Arab, spokesman for Somalia’s security ministry.
Al Shabaab militants captured a town in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region on Thursday (8.06.2017) a senior official confirmed, and the group claimed it had killed at least 61 soldiers in the assault.
“Al Shabaab attacked Af Urur town this morning. There were few soldiers there and thus al Shabaab captured the town. It is difficult to know the casualties because the telecommunications were cut off,” Bari region governor Yusuf Mohamed told Reuters.
The al Qaeda-linked group said it had also killed 61 soldiers after over-running a military base in the town.
“The number could rise since the operation is still underway,” Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military spokesman said in a statement.
“Somalia’s future matters to Europe and our support matters to Somalia,” Mogherini said. “The €200 million we have announced today strengthens the EU’s leading role in supporting the country’s development, stability and security. We already play a major role for peace in the country through the three active missions in the country as well as our support to the African Union peacekeeping mission AMISOM. We believe that the people of Somalia can and should shape the future of their country. We want Somalia to rise again – and today we demonstrate it in very practical terms.”
That is why she insisted, “the EU is ready and willing to accompany” real changes in Somalia. But “before we can make decisions about our financial support, we need to see effective coordination and burden sharing in managing this transition towards a Somali owned security system, with full participation by regional countries”. Mogherini underlined that “the money we pledge today cannot do any miracles, without strong leadership and determination from inside Somalia”.
The development funding announced today will be channelled through the European Union Trust Fund for Africa, which aims to address the root causes of destabilization, forced displacement and irregular migration. EU support will help to accelerate Somalia’s economic recovery. This will be done by supporting the reforms needed to ensure Somalia’s full re-engagement with the International Financial Institutions, access to multilateral finance and debt relief. This will also help lay the foundations for more inclusive, stable politics including a roadmap to a more inclusive electoral process in 2020.
The EU is a long standing partner to Somalia in development aid, peacekeeping operations and humanitarian aid. For the period 2015-2020, the EU and its Member States’ cooperation including development, humanitarian aid and peacekeeping operations amounts to €3.4 billion.
Today’s support package comes on top of the €286 million which the European Commission has allocated under the 11th European Development Fund (for the period 2014-2020), which focuses on strengthening state functions, improving food security and resilience as well as education for young people. EU financing is implemented mostly through grants implemented by UN agencies and international NGOs, or contributions to Trust Funds.
The US service member killed in action was a Navy SEAL, a US defense official told CNN.
A US military official confirmed that this is the first US service member killed in action in Somalia since 1993, when two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down and 18 American soldiers were killed in the Battle for Mogadishu.
The incident occurred Thursday during an operation against local al Qaeda affiliate al Shabaab 40 miles west of Mogadishu in the Shebelle region. The wounded, including an interpreter who was also a US citizen, are receiving medical attention, another US defense official told CNN. The troops came under small arms fire.