MOGADISHU — African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) took a careful first step with Somalia this week by reaching out to the newly liberated Southern regions with the appointment of a new Spokesperson.
In an effort to win the support of that local population, AMISOM appointed Col Mohamed Aden Houmed of the Djiboutian Armed Forces as its new spokesperson.
Djibouti recently launched its bid for the post and it is believed its position was favored over the Ugandans by the locals and European Union NAVFOR.
Lt. Col. Paddy Nkunda from Ugandan relinquished his duties as the head of the information office for the mission on Saturday welcoming Col Houmed during a press ceremony held at the mission’s headquarters in Mogadishu.
“I wish to welcome Col Houmed from Djibouti army who will be leading AMISOM’s information office,” he said. Lt. Col. Nkunda has held the post since April 2011.
As a fluent Somali-speaker, Houmed’s multilingual skills is expected to win over the Somali people, who have known no other language than guns for the last two decades.
“I promise to fulfill my duties and update you of all unfolding events. I am happy that I speak Somali and I will be able to communicate with you,” Col Houmed told press in Mogadishu.
The Colonel who received much of his training under the French military his country hosts is said to be someone that fulfills the qualities of a good spokesperson.
Along with Somali, he is fluent in French and speaks commanding English — and brings these to the institutions that was established 2007.
Djibouti is one of four African nations – Uganda, Burundi and Kenya, deploying a force of over 17,000 in Southern Somalia coming close to the authorized force of 17,731. Kenya formally committed 4,664 personnel to the mission this week, giving command to the AMISOM.
The troops are battling Al Qaeda-affiliated insurgents that have controlled much of Southern Somalia since 2006.
Sierra Leone has promised to send an additional contingent unit to the troubled East African nation.
The Republic of Djibouti is dominated by ethnic Somalis, which represent 60 percent of the total population. They are part of the five Somali regions that are reflected on the Somali flag. The appointment of Col Houmed will help foster a relationship between the African troops and its Somali hosts.
Colonel Houmed and his 17,000 strong force expand their areas of operation outside the Somali capital with new sector headquarters now in Baidoa, Beledweyne and Dhobley in southwestern Gedo region.
Since the ouster of Al Shabab insurgents from Mogadishu, the Somali capital has experienced rubbed growth fueled by the Diaspora community and aid money.