Somalia president hails lifting of arms embargo as government vows to wipe out al-Shabab militants

Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has welcomed the U.N. Security Council vote to lift an arms embargo imposed on the Horn of Af

Somalia Arms Embargo
Somalia Arms Embargo

Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud welcomed Saturday the U.N. Security Council vote to lift an arms embargo imposed on the Horn of Africa nation more than 30 years ago.

The 15-member council unanimously voted Friday night in favor of the British-drafted resolution to lift the weapons ban. However, France was the only member to abstain when voting on another resolution to reimpose an arms embargo on al Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab militants, saying the resolution lacked references to the territorial disputes between Djibouti and Eritrea.

In a statement sent to the Associated Press, Information Minister Daud Aweys said the embargo lift will help modernize the country’s armed forces. “Somalia has been grappling with significant security challenges, including the presence of extremist groups such as al-Shabab. The Somali government needs access to modern arms and equipment to effectively combat these threats and maintain security within its borders,” the statement read.

The Somali president, in a televised statement soon after the adoption of the resolution, said the embargo lift “means that we are now free to purchase any weapons needed,” adding that “friendly nations and allies” can now “provide us with the necessary weapons without any limitations or restrictions.”

Somalia was placed under the embargo in 1992 to stop the sale of weapons to warlords who toppled former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. The ouster led to decades of civil war and instability in the country as the warlords fought against each other.