UN Chief Makes Landmark Visit to Somalia

Posted December 9th, 2011 at 8:05 am (UTC-5)
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United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says the U.N. will move its Somalia office to the capital, Mogadishu, next month.

On Friday, Mr. Ban made the first visit to Somalia by a U.N. secretary-general since 1993, two years after the government collapsed.

Mr. Ban said he was honored to be in Somalia and to show solidarity with the people.

After meeting with Somali leaders, including President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Mr. Ban said the U.N. will move its Somalia office from its current location in Kenya to Mogadishu in January.

Mr. Ban's visit is considered a sign that progress is being made in Somalia, as militant group al-Shabab loses territory.

He applauded the work by the African Union's force in Somalia, AMISOM, which forced Al-Shabab to withdraw its fighters from the capital in August after launching an offensive.

However, since late November, there have been 15 bomb attacks in Mogadishu, and the government has blamed them on al-Shabab.

In an interview with VOA on Thursday, a former official with Somalia's National Security Agency said al-Shabab appears to have adopted guerilla tactics to destabilize Mogadishu.

Colonel Abdulahi Ali Maow also said al-Shabab appears to have created a unit of more sophisticated fighters, some of whom may have infiltrated pro-government forces.

Al-Shabab has been fighting AU and Somali government forces in an effort to impose a strict Islamic law in Somalia

AMISOM has been backing the UN-supported Transitional Federal Government , in the war-torn country that has been without a stable government since 1991.