Somalia’s president welcomed Friday’s decision by the UN Security Council to fully lift an arms embargo on the Somalian government while maintaining a ban on sales to the country’s Islamist militants.
The United Nations in 1992 imposed an embargo on all arms deliveries to Somalia, though in recent years the Security Council has eased restrictions on sales to the central government.
“From now on, our country is free to purchase any weapon we want from the world,” Hassan Sheikh Mohamud declared late Friday.
“Weapons in government hands will not pose threat to our people and the world.”
Friday’s UN decision maintained the embargo on supplying weapons to the Islamist Al-Shabaab and other rebel groups.
“This decision comes at a very crucial time as a nation and people since we are in a war to eliminate Kharijites (Al-Shabaab) from the country,” the National Intelligence and Security Agency said in a statement.
After making initial gains, a government offensive launched in August 2022 against Al-Shabaab has stalled, leading to doubts about the government’s ability to quash the 16-year-old insurrection by the al-Qaeda-linked group.