By Oznur Alturk
Embassy Mogadishu’s interagency participation in Somalia’s National Weapons and Ammunition Management (WAM) Coordination Meeting reiterated the U.S. government’s strong commitment to increasing security and assisting the Somali government with peacebuilding efforts to save lives. Effective weapons and ammunition management is an essential component of these efforts.
Organized by the Office of National Security (ONS), the March 19-20 WAM conference brought together high-level officials, technical teams from the federal and state governments, and international partners.
The embassy played a key role in this important event by coordinating planning efforts with ONS and international partners, working to ensure all federal and state stakeholders were represented at the conference, and providing expert participants in the discussions. The U.S. technical delegation included representatives from the embassy’s political-military affairs section, the U.S. defense attaché, and the Military Assistance Group-Somalia. Ambassador Larry André Jr. gave remarks at the closing session and encouraged international partners to continue the collective commitment to the peace and security of the Somali people.
WAM is a top priority in Somalia because it improves conditions for security and stabilization. Since the 1990s, the United States has provided more than $37 million to WAM efforts in the country, primarily through Bureau of Political-Military Affairs-funded programs. These efforts improve the security of state-held weapons stockpiles and mitigate the risk that they fall into the wrong hands. The most notable effort includes recently completed risk mitigation work at the Halane Armory, the government’s central arms depot, which houses high-explosive ammunition and surplus munitions that pose a significant risk to the population that lives and works nearby. This project is a prime example of the positive cooperation between Somalia and the United States on safe and secure WAM programs that save lives and promote security.
Oznur Alturk is a political military officer at Embassy Mogadishu.