AMISOM: Peacekeepers or Warmongers?

AMISOM troops

Despite the much perpetuated myth of AMISOM’s (African Union Mission in Somalia) so-called peacekeeping mission in the media, the situation on the ground here significantly differs from what we were used to hearing. Skim through the international dailies or the countless number of websites and you might read lines that conjure up images of heroic Ugandan and Burundi soldiers courageously defending the teetering government from the Islamist advancement.

It sounds plausible, perhaps even a little moving too, if you were a middle-aged Liverpudlian civil servant that is. But the reality, as I have recently come to realise, is quite different. Much like the Ethiopians before them, the AMISOM forces have earned for themselves the vengeful wrath of the local population. Ingrained in the hearts of the residents here is not a warm admiration for the Ugandans and Burundis, as well as the TFG, but rather a strong feeling of hate and dislike, particularly in the Bakaara Market.

In their attempt to bolster the fragile government’s authority, the AMISOM forces have been involved in almost a daily shelling campaign of Mogadishu’s residents. Hardly a day passes by in Mogadishu without hearing the sound of missiles and mortars being fired into crowded residential or shopping areas.

While walking in the crowded Bakara market, Mogadishu’s business hub, I heard the sound of a mortar that had just landed some blocks away. I have come to learn the different sounds of guns here in Mogadishu because of their constant use.

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