US congressmen in push for Somalia’s state rebuilding aid – INO


Members of the United States congress called for the two houses to approve the provision of  $87.7 million in Economic Support Funds to assist in the formation of Somalia’s state institutions destroyed by over decades –old conflict in the country.

Writing to the foreign affairs committee, 16 congressmen led by the Minnesota Democratic Representative Keith Ellison said  that providing financial support to Somalia would help the horn of Africa nation to build legitimate and durable institutions that will enhance peace and stability in Somalia.

“Somalia is at a critical juncture and we must provide meaningful assistance in order to build upon gains achieved over the last several years. We thus urge you to prioritize assistance to this country.” they said in the letter addressed to chairs of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Giving further details about the aid appeal to the congress, they said that current challenges facing Somali remittance flows to Somalia and from other countries made it difficult for many in the diaspora to support their families back home which worsened the situation on the ground.

“This assistance needs to be matched by a robust investment in capacity building and support for legitimate and capable government institutions, which are a pre-requisite for long-term stability in Somalia.” They said.

Raising the humanitarian situation in Somalia, the members of the the two houses also called for the congress to provide a separate financial aid to Somalia where a severe drought is ravaging the country, causing nearly a million people to struggle to procure basic necessities like food and water.

“Furthermore, as you consider FY20 17 appropriations we request that you consider a request to increase transparency on the efficacy of our aid in Somalia.” They wrote, saying that the financial aid would also help consolidate gains made against militants in Somalia.

The United States has expanded its military operations against Al Shabab fighters in Somalia in recent weeks, keeping up pressure on the group which is fighting Somali government and African Union forces.

Speaking in Addis Ababa during his first visit to Africa last year, US president Barack Obama praised recent advances by Somali and African Union troops against al-Shabab militants, but said it was important to keep up the pressure.

This month, a US airstrike has killed at least 150 Al Shabab fighters whom the Pentagon said were preparing to leave a training camp and posed an “imminent threat” to American and African forces.

Three days later, Somali and American commandos in helicopters staged a nocturnal raid on Awdhegle, a rebel-held town in the lower Shabelle region, killing at least 10 fighters, according to officials.

However, an Al Shabab spokesman who acknowledged the attack only confirmed that the group lost one fighter during the raid which he called ‘foiled’ by fighters.


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