African ministers from countries that are contributing troops to Somalia have expressed concern about the continued recruitment drive by al-Shabab in the Horn of African nation.
The ministers who met virtually to review the security situation in Somalia in a joint statement issued on Thursday also expressed deep concern over the continued threat posed by al-Shabab and their acquisition of sophisticated weaponry.
The meeting came amid reports that al-Shabab militants have launched what appears to be a forced recruitment campaign in Somalia’s southern region.
The group, which controls large parts of southern regions, is reportedly pressuring leaders of local villages to make sure teenagers join its ranks.
The campaign has prompted hundreds of children to flee areas controlled by al-Shabab.
“The meeting commended the Federal Government of Somalia for the efforts undertaken towards inclusive politics and welcomed the agreement on the electoral model for the 2020/21 national elections,”they said in a joint statement issued.
The meeting re-emphasized the direction of the AU Peace and Security Council and urged the UN Security Council to agree on the modalities for an African Union-United Nations co-leadership in undertaking the independent assessment.
“Considering the challenges and the strategic issues related to their continued support to Somalia, the meeting agreed to meet again next week,” said the ministers.
Ministers from Kenya, Djibouti, Burundi, Ethiopia and Uganda attended the virtual meeting.
The meeting received a briefing from African Union Mission in Somalia about the prevailing political and security situation in