AU appoints new special representative in Somalia

AU appoints new special representative in Somalia

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The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma announced the appointment of Ambassador Francisco Caetano Jose Madeira of Mozambique her Special Representative and Head of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Mr. Madeira succeeds Dr. Maman S. Sidikou, a Nigerian national who has been holding the position since July 2014.

‘’The appointment of the new Head of AMISOM comes at a time when the AU is attempting to expedite the stabilisation of Somalia, so as to pave the way for the successful holding of general elections in 2016. Given his experience in counter-terrorism, Ambassador Madeira is expected to give a new impetus to the campaign to neutralize al-Shabaab and other terrorist groups, building on the tremendous achievements made by AMISOM over the past few years, in particular with the recovery of many of the major cities and other strategic locations of south-central Somalia. He will also assist in the implementation of Vision 2016 developed by the Somali stakeholders,’’ read a statement extended to Horseed Media by the African Union office in Somalia on Wednesday.

The African Union chairperson expressed her deep appreciation for Mr. Sidikou’s successful management of the Mission.

Ambassador Francisco Madeira brings to the position extensive experience in African issues. He was the Ambassador of Mozambique to several African countries, from 1984 to 1989, and diplomatic advisor at the presidency, Special Envoy of the AU Chairperson (former President Joachim Chissano of Mozambique) to Sao Tome and Principe and several other positions.

AMISOM first began its mission in Somalia in 2007, when the African Union Peace and Security Council sent a peacekeeping force consisting of troops from Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, Djibouti, and Sierra Leone. Its presence has grown tremendously over the past seven years as its role has shifted from helping push back against a group known as the Islamic Courts Union, which controlled parts of the country, to countering the threat from al-Shabaab.

The AMISOM is mandated to support governmental structures, implement a national security plan, support the Somali Security Forces, and assist in creating a secure environment for the delivery of humanitarian aid.

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