اخر الاخبار One of the US lawmakers call for an end to US funding for the Somali army

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اخر الاخبار اليوم حيث The government of United States (U.S) should rescind the decision to give the military aid to Somali National Army, U.S. lawmaker has said.

The superpower country has been taking part in the process to rebuild SNA and the fight against Al-Shabab.

Washington has spent $66 million on stipends over the past seven years until last year when it suspended aid for much of the army over corruption concerns.

Only a tranche of the aid earmarked for army uniform has been dispursed to the Somali government.

Almost six months after the suspension, still Some  U.S. lawmakers are dissatisfied with their country’s meagre military aid.

In a televised interview, Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., chairman of the Subcommittee of Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management has called on the U.S. to cut off its aid to SNA.

Paul claims that there is ‘a lack of sufficient controls to make sure U.S. money is not instead of going to finance terrorists’ despite Somali leaders pledge to come up with transparency and accountability.

According to Paul, the committee is shining a light on an $8 million grant still in place, including $4.3 million in stipends for the Somali National Army.

“Our deficit this year will be a trillion dollars. Where is the money coming from? And also buying uniforms in the Somalia Army and paying their salary just isn’t something I think is a good use of American taxpayer dollars,” Paul said.

According to the State Department, the U.S.-Somalia relationship is an important one with goals of promoting political and economic stability, helping alleviate the humanitarian crisis, and preventing the use of Somalia as a safe haven for terrorists from around the globe.

Halting military aid over graft

The U.S. suspension of aid after the Somali military reportedly failed to account for food and fuel.

“During recent discussions between the United States and the Federal Government of Somalia, both sides agreed that the Somali National Army had failed to meet the standards for accountability for U.S. assistance,” a State Department says after the suspension was materialized in mid-December last year.

The documents paint a stark picture of a military hollowed out by corruption, unable to feed, pay or arm its soldiers – despite hundreds of millions of dollars of support.

Between May and June, a team of U.S. and Somali officials visited nine army bases to assess whether the men were receiving food the United States provides for 5,000 soldiers.

  “We did not find the expected large quantities of food at any location … there was no evidence of consumption (except at two bases),” the U.S. team wrote to the Somali government.

 At one base, less than a fifth of the soldiers listed by Somali commanders were present. The best-staffed base had 160 soldiers out of 550. Only 60 had weapons.

“Many appeared to be wearing brand new uniforms. This implied they were assembled merely to improve appearances,” the document read.

Somali Prime Minister  Hassan Ali Kheire vowed to launch an investigation into the allegations and carry out a shake-up within the army.

Kheire said his government was committed to implementing transparency and accountability.

Three days after the suspension, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo said he would do all he can to pay salaries and buy equipment for Somali soldiers.

“I hereby certify that if a thing is halted, as a government we shall put effort five hundred percent so that the suspension does not affect us anyone,” President Farmajo said.

Child recruitment

In a report last year, the U.S. said there were 920 instances of child soldiers, forcing children to fight.

The report said evidence shows that some of these soldiers are part of al-Qaida.

Though underage recruitment has been mentioned in the report with much of fell on Al-Shabaab group, it is still how the aid to Somali Military is related the recruitment carried out by Al-Shabab which wants to overthrow the Somali government.

In January,  Al-Shabaab was accused of threatening and abducting civilians to hand over their children for indoctrination and military training.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that the armed group began ordering elders and teachers in rural parts of the southern Bay region in mid-2017 to provide them with children – as young as eight – or face reprisals.

Gamal Hassan, Somalia’s minister for planning, investment and economic development who spoke after the report said he was not surprised by reports of aggressive child recruitment by the group.

“Al Shabab continues to do activities which are illegal, immoral and against humanitarian law,” Hassan said. “So I am not surprised they do that. They used to do that, and now they continue to do that.” U.S Senator calls for end to US funds for Somali National Army”

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