AMISOM Explores Air And Water Transport To Avert Floods And IEDs On Somali Roads

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In recent months, African Union Troops have suffered multiple ambushes in the hands of al-Shabaab militants resulting to the delay of military supplies and infantry vehicles.

Recent floods in most parts of Somalia have also made it impossible for AMISOM troops to use improvised roads in Lower Shabelle region where roads are non-existent.

The Uganda contingent, Mogadishu which covers 75,000 sq km — the largest of Amisom-controlled areas — is the most stretched.

The farthest point from force headquarters on the western side is Baraawe, 240 kilometres from Mogadishu. On the northern side, the distance is 90 kilometres. It takes one to two weeks by convoy to reach the farthest soldier in Baraawe with the risk of losing two or three vehicles.

A runway that will help AMISOM transport suppliers by air is currently under construction and will be complete in the next two months.

Somali enjoys one of the longest coastlines in Africa, making it easier and more efficient to deliver supplies via waters but when army based are only a few kilometers away from each other, the troops are forces to use road which is full of obstacles.

For example, it took a convoy of five infantry fighting vehicles with AMISOM soldiers to cover a mere six kilometers from the headquarters Battle Group XXII at Ceeljaale to the next base of the First Infantry Battalion at Shalamboot. It took two hours from Shalamboot to the 19th battalion base at Buufow, a distance of two hours.

Floods and improvised explosive devices along the way are some of the challenges faced by AMISOM troops, by building the airstrips troops will avoid the hustle of having to scan for IEDs, losing vehicles and avoid getting casualties but above all, supplies will reach their destination on time.