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Should the UN return to Somalia?

AfricaHYS Team | 13:26 UK time, Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Somalia's Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed is urging the UN to return its Somalia-related operations to Mogadishu rather than work out of neighbouring Kenya.

Somalia's Transitional Federal Government  has a mandate which expires in August. So this week the United Nations is hosting a conference in Nairobi to discuss what happens next. 

But the Prime Minister, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed is  boycotting the meeting because he wants all UN work for Somalia to be done in Mogadishu. Mr Mohamed says the UN already operates in Afghanistan and Iraq, which he says are far more dangerous than Somalia.

Is he right? Should the UN move its operations back within the country, or would the risks of such a move outweigh the benefits?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Wednesday 13 April at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.


  • Comment number 1.

    Is he referring to the same UN that recently bomb what it considers hostile forces in Libya? The same UN that bomb government forces in Ivory Coast? Is this the same UN? So why aren’t they (the UN) bombing someone in Somalia? So many questions can someone please fill in my blank? The UN is a/an _____ organization.

  • Comment number 2.

    The prime minister Muhamed is right,but boycotting the meeting wont solve the problem but he should attend the meeting and ask the UN why in kenya and not in Somalia?

  • Comment number 3.

    After 20 years of being a black hole on the international security landscape, I can agree with Mr Mohamed's argument. The UN should have returned to Somalia some years ago, but has been hamstrung by the threat of vetos in the Security Council, willing and able partners, and a clear concept of what needs to be done on the ground. Questions over the breakaway "republics" of Somaliland and Puntland need to be answered as well, as these two unofficial governments form the best hope for a large geographical swathe of the country.

    Sadly I think the August end-date for the mandate will come and go without resolution, as a vast improvement in the security situation is needed on the ground before the UN will relocate. The countries that can adequately provide this under a Security Council mandate (UK/US) have overstretched themselves with current operations, budget cuts and personnel cuts. France, the only other permanent member willing/capable of deploying, would not be able to provide the size of the manpower required to provide assistance. The AU force has, to date, not proved its salt in securing the capital efectively and cannot be relied upon. [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 4.

    Yes, the United Nations should return to Somalia to help this poor country, a victim of barbarism and terrorism - it is strongly suggested that the United Nations consider dispatching strong Military and civilian contingents consisting of highly experienced and war hardened Pakistani and NATO armed forces to effectively assist the Somalia Government and the people in their hour of need...it's time the Somalian people had peace in their country and freedom from the Pirates [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]who have turned it into a Pirates Cove...

  • Comment number 5.

    Somalia and Somaliland need all the help they can get. They promised in Autumn 2010 that they were going to move some of the UNPOS operation to Hargesia, since the very peaceful elections in Somaliland took place, however, since then they have not acted upon their promise. They can move some parts of their opertaions to Mogudishu ( even the AMISOM generals told this to BBC reporters in the winter of 2010, when large parts of Mogudishu came under their control).This is the only way of working with the people of Somaliland and Somalia.

  • Comment number 6.

    Somalia has been kept in the dark for so long. It's high-time the UN relocates to Mogadishu and puts in place an appropriate security apparatus to oversee their activities as has been done in Iraq and Afghanistan. For how long will there continue to operate from Kenya? If they are serious about restoring some degree of normalcy to the country, they have to operate from within, not without![Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 7.

    UN should not move back its operations into Somalia not because of security reasons, but because of the UN Somali agenda: UN is the main problem that Somalia and its people are suffering now; they protect the interest of Western colonial powers such as USA and Nato's Africa strategies (both militarily and economically) -- as well as the Italians who were, and still remain, the main beneficiaries of the Somalia resources. However, if the UN is serious about helping Somalis to overcome obstacles to achieving a long lasting peace and stability in their country, they should revisit and act on Mohamed Sahnoun's (the former UN representative to Somalia) advice: Somalis can resolve their problems without a third party.

    More importantly, UN should take advantage of the benefit of hindsight by looking at what really works in similar situations. Forexample, they could study the Somaliland case. It is a model for peace making, a culturally appropriate democratic model for conflict resolution.

  • Comment number 8.

    It is a wishful thinking of TFG's premier as neither he [TFG] nor the AMISOM contingent in Mogadishu can guarantee the safety of the UN staff. However the UN work would be much more efficient if they were on the ground. This current TFG has failed Somalis to make the UN move to Somalia [Mogadishu] even thinkable. [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 9.

    Abdulahi Mohammed should make himself clear about the UN mission in Somalia, this time around.If he is inviting UN to help restore peace in his country through non-violent means, so be it. But if his intention is a re-enactment of Libyan and Ivorian episode, he should rather have a rethink. A situation where a heavy bombardment is metted out on a sovereign state and hundreds of innocent civilians lost their lives like in Libya and Ivory Coast leaves much to be desired.[Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 10.

    Why not! UN is an useless organization and the best place for them to be is in Somalia, let them be there

  • Comment number 11.

    Yes, the UN should and must move back in Somalia in order to do its job properly and effectively.
    I am a Somali who is in Uganda for a week now. my telephone is 00256718606040.
    Thank you,

  • Comment number 12.

    The Prime Minister is right and a great number of Somalis - inside and outsite the country - stand by his call for the UN to return to Somalia. There is commonly held belief within Somalis that the UN is but operating in a fashion that only undermines the credibility of the Transitoional Federal Government and that most of its Nairobi-Kenya based operations directed at Somalia are NOT genuinely run.

    Furthermore, the UN has time and again expressed its desire to work towards bringing peace in Somalia, however, this desire seems to run counter to the Somali view that for peace to be achieved, reconciliation must take place between Somalis only and within Somalia. Today, unlike any other time in the last twenty years, the Somali nation has realised the urgent need to retrace/return to its traditional processes of solving disputes and conflicts. And return to tradition it(The nation) will with or without the UN and the International Community's approval.

    Prime Minister's boycott of the Nairobi conference has indeed united Somali public opinion and has made us (Somalis in the Diaspora) proud. Further meddling from the UN or other external actors are no longer tolerable.

  • Comment number 13.

    UN is an umbrella member organization for the independent countries, I may be right or wrong. Somali has been without a government for over 20 years in the eyes of the UN as a parent. At the same time attempts have been made to form governments but with limited support from the UN member states.
    Yes, if there is good will and desire to help Somali stand among nations, then UN should get back with clear mandate of being bipartisan in the process of working with the citizens. The notion of seeking the intellectuals and the influential as potential leaders in itself breeds partisan and skewed relationship.
    The real challenge in getting Somali to work as a nation may need getting those in diaspora to support the effort, UN to put a stop to arming the rebels, and place an embargo on arms flow into Somali. This may bring a more positive attitude and focus on socio-economic focus with human side of the enterprise as a base to the desired change.

  • Comment number 14.

    The situation in Somalia is sad and shame to African Politics because the country is still ungovernable since more than 11 years. The country has no tribal problem nor Religion and language. The core to the problem is believing in the barrel of the Gun for any solution and not discussion for a common cause. From these points the UN interferanc will be short lived unless the people of Somalia are willing to solve their problem on round Table and may God help them.

  • Comment number 15.

    Yes, they should. Kenya is benefiting from the UN staying in their hotels.

  • Comment number 16.

    UN must be operating in Mogadishu because that will contribute to somali government e fforts to restore law and order in the country.
    A lot of the money which is allocated to development of Somalia is spent on 5 star hotels and nonsense conferances in Nairobi.
    The international community must help this prime minister, he is competant, serious and have the support of somalis inside and outside country. The government now controls much of Mogadishu which means it can secure the security of UN workers. If we don,t support this government now, the only thing we wait is Alshabab winning and spreading their terrorist activities outside Somalia. It is now or never! Mahiga should understand that the prime minister is ambitious and have the support of Somalis. No more dictation!!

  • Comment number 17.

    in my openion that is what Un supose to do if they want to be sure of what is indeed in the nation and try to bring some hope for the people in Somalia, but the problem is that UN is not gonna do it, because there is nothing in somalia for UN to take out, like Oil in Iraq and Cacao in ivory coast.

  • Comment number 18.

    Really? How about the Somalis learning to move away from clan-based politics, the most significant obstacle to any attempt at rebuilding their benighted country, to begin with? In any event, does this so-called prime minister realize that UN staff are other peoples' daughters, sons, husbands or wives? Why should they have to risk their lives so that Somali rulers (or any other group of people for that matter) can indulge their murderous passions? When will Somali leaders begin to learn that you can't build a nation-State by promoting clan-based allegiances?

  • Comment number 19.

    I'd rather welcome NATO to provide full military support to the Somali government. These backward religious militants (Al-Shabab) should be stopped at all cost. The UN is more effective in providing aid (medicine, access to clean water, education, food, shelter, etc) to Somalia rather than deploying a ground force to establish peace in that anarchic country.

  • Comment number 20.

    I support the Somalia Prime Minister's call for the UN to work in Somalia and he is right when he said the UN works in conflict ridden countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. He should have included the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Darfur, Ivory Coast and Libya in that list. For over 20 years, the UN staff enjoyed the luxury and interesting life they have in Nairobi in the name of working for impoverished Somalia. The astronomical money they spend in Kenya could have helped the Somalis in Mogadishu in so many ways including local employment opportunities in a country that desperately needs job creation and economic development. Furthermore, they would have spent half of that money in Mogadishu. Like anywhere else, the UN can take measures to protect its staff and has no more excuses to be in Nairobi. They should move to Mogadishu which is where they are desperately needed.

  • Comment number 21.

    he is right they have to come to mugadisho becuse iraq and afganistan is not a place to u live, and those un officals are eating the friut of somali people thank u

  • Comment number 22.

    This country has been in a civil war for more than a decade yes the UN needs to go back to Somalia to help the people and stabilized the country

  • Comment number 23.

    I don't think the UN are doing good job in Africa; the UN forces have accussed of mass rape in the DR Congo, and illegal trade with the rebel groups. Yet all the chargers against the UN forces in Congo were dropped [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]without trial. Why can't Somalian solve their problem by themselves instead of UN. The conflict in Libya increases because of UN involvement, therefore there is no need for UN to be in Somalia!

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    Not only should the UN return to Somalia, but the Organizations should take over this conflict-ridden country simply because Somalia has became a fail state and its people proofed to be unable to govern themselves. the UN is not perfect, but its much better in comparison to those war lords and irreligious fanatics that have destroyed or are still destroying what is left of this once prosperous and beautiful country.

  • Comment number 26.

    I think Somalia is not an Island within the UN. The country residents suffer while the greedy war loads continue to cause havoc on the populace to gain outside help. All those who back war lords in Somalia are the real criminals.UN should look into how to block shipping of arms from any part of the world. when that is done, then the world body can try force the warring factions to a negotiating table. Otherwise there would be no progress even if the UN Headquaters itself is moved to Somalia.

  • Comment number 27.


  • Comment number 28.

    The UN must be free to be anywhere in country based on situation on the ground. Thus should work in collaboration with Somalie authourities.

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.



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