AU peacekeepers in Somalia arrested for selling military supplies
Somalia’s security forces have arrested 15 African Union (AU) peacekeepers after allegedly apprehending the soldiers selling military supplies to civilians in the capital, Mogadishu.
The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) was created by the African Union in January 2007 as a regional peacekeeping mission with the approval of the United Nations.
While the mission is entirely funded by the European Union (EU) through contributions (€575m, £452m, $640m) made to the AU, the organisation recently announced it would reduce its funding to AMISOM by 20 per cent following the rise of jihadist threats and conflicts in the region.
In May, Kenya also threatened to pull out its forces from Somalia if the international community failed to plug funding gaps for the operation.
Somalia’s police chief, Mohamed Sheikh Hassan Hamud, said its forces had arrested five AU peacekeepers and 10 Somali nationals, after catching them “red-handed” selling military equipment to civilians, including petrol, sandbags and detonators, according to the Somali National News Agency (SNNA).
The AMISOM troops were allegedly arrested after they were seen selling fuel and other military equipment in a garage in the Banadir neighbourhood of the Somali capital.
The soldiers had been under surveillance for a while, Hamud told local media, and police had been investigating “repeated claims” that equipment and other resources meant for AU troops were “ending up in the hands of people who were misusing them”.
Somalia’s Interior Minister, Abdirizak Omar Mohamed, said the AU forces were involved in illegal trade. “It may also explain why insecurity is increasing in Somalia.