MOGADISHU, March 10 — The African Union mission (AMISOM) Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) officers should help speed up Somalia stabilization process by facilitating the implementation of quick impact projects, the mission’s military official said on Saturday.
Naboth Mwesigwa, AMISOM Chief Military Intelligence Officer, also called on CIMIC officers to help facilitate programs that can improve the socio-economic lives of residents.
Mwesigwa who closed a one-week training course for AMISOM officers urged CIMIC officers to engage more with communities to help strengthen relations between the Mission and the local population.
“The image the population gets should be through you. So if you the CIMIC activist don’t reflect a good picture on our side, then the civilians will get a negative attitude or impression about the forces,” he said in a statement released in Mogadishu.
He said closer collaboration between AU mission CIMIC officers and their Somali National Army (SNA) counterparts was also needed to help win the hearts and minds of the local communities in the fight against terrorism.
Mwesigwa said the AMISOM leadership has implemented measures aimed at improving relations between the military and civilians and also reviewed its CIMIC structures to improve understanding between the military and humanitarian actors.
The pan African body’s mission has also adopted Somalia Country Specific Humanitarian Guidelines which stipulates the rules of engagement between AMISOM and humanitarian actors working in different parts of the country.
Constance Sikalumbi, the AMISOM Head of CIMIC, said the training was intended to enhance the capacity of CIMIC officers to help improve civil-military relations, so as to enable the Mission achieve its mandate.
“Civil-Military Cooperation is an art of warfare which is used to win hearts and minds of the civilian population in conflict regions. This is employed during peace resolution be it peacebuilding, peacekeeping or peace enforcement,” Sikalumbi said.
Major Beccy Graves from the UK MST (Mission Support Team) noted that other than training, the workshop was meant to enhance synergy among the officers and bolster their understanding of the importance of CIMIC.
“We decided that it was necessary to put this course together so that we are able to gather all the sector CIMIC officers and spend a week with them going through CIMIC activities, some of the wider stabilization activities and see how that fits into their roles within Somalia and the AMISOM mission,” said Graves.
The Horn of Africa nation has been facing security and political challenges for more than two decades. Al-Shabaab militants have been battling the Western-backed government for years.
The African Union mission has been engaged in the provision of quick impact projects in liberated areas, to alleviate suffering and hasten stabilization for populations in those areas.