US opens embassy in Mogadishu after 27 years of closure

Kenneth Kazibwe

The United States of American has reopened its diplomatic mission in Mogadishu, Somalia after 27 years of closure, the Nile Post has learnt.

Previously the US embassy for Somalia been based in Nairobi, Kenya after closure in 1991 amid fighting between government and rebels.

However, in a statement by the US Department of State spokesperson, Heather Nauert , their embassy in Mogadishu has been reopened and  a new ambassador installed.

“For the first time since the closure of the U.S. Embassy in Mogadishu on January 5, 1991, the United States reestablished a permanent diplomatic presence in Somalia,” said the statement.

“This historic event reflects Somalia’s progress in recent years and is another step forward in formalizing U.S. diplomatic engagement in Mogadishu since recognizing the Federal Government of Somalia in 2013. Our return demonstrates the United States’ commitment to further advance stability, democracy, and economic development that are in the interest of both nations.”

Donald Yamamoto has been appointed as the new US ambassador in Somalia

“Ambassador Donald Yamamoto and his staff look forward to working closely with the people and the Federal Government of Somalia to strengthen our already close bilateral relationship in furtherance of these shared goals.”

The security situation has greatly improved in Mogadishu since 2011 when the Al Shabaab militants who controlled the city were flashed out by AMISOM forces led by the Ugandan army that was the first to deploy in the country since 2007.

Before arrival of the Ugandan army, the Al Shabaab militants controlled 90% of the city but in a mission described by many as dead on arrival, the UPDF has since 2007 turned around Mogadishu which was in a state of anarchy and had been ruined by war.

Speaking to the Nile Post recently, the former contingent commander for UPDF in Somalia, Brig.Paul Lokech said it took them a lot of energy to flush the Islamic militants out of Mogadishu.

“Al Shabaab was embedded in the urban area but we were able to break their backs. Everyone doubted our capability when we first landed here but 11 years after what had been described as a mission dead on arrival, everyone sees the gains,” Brig Lokech said.

“Somalia will never be the same again. Mogadishu will never be a safe haven for Al Shabaab and any other terrorist group again as it was in the past before our intervention.”

Following Uganda’s deployment in Somalia under the AMISOM in 2007, other countries including Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Burundi followed suit.

Currently, Uganda is the largest troop contributor of the 22,000 strong AMISOM force since 2007, contributing roughly 80 percent of the number.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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