According to Somali officials, Russia has volunteered to assist Somalia’s military forces in their fight against the al-Shabab terrorist group.
According to the diplomats, who requested anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to media, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made the offer during discussions in Moscow with his Somali colleague, Abshir Omar Jama.
According to one official, “Russia was ready to provide Somalia’s army with military supplies, in order to strengthen the government’s fight against al-Shabab.”
The officials did not explain what sort of equipment Russia was sending Somalia, which is subject to a long-standing United Nations arms embargo.
The embargo was imposed by the United Nations Security Council in 1992, following the onset of civil conflict and factional warfare. The ban was partially eased in 2013 in order to assist Somalia’s security forces in their struggle against Islamist terrorists.
Russia’s offer came only hours after al-Shabab fighters assaulted a Ugandan military post in Bulo Marer, an agricultural village in the Lower Shabelle area approximately 110 kilometres south of Mogadishu.
Earlier, at the start of the meetings between the two foreign ministers, Lavrov emphasised the two nations’ historic connection, which dates back to the Soviet Union’s swift recognition of Somalia when it got independence in 1960.
He also stated that he and Jama will discuss preparations for the Russia-Africa summit, which is set to take place in late July in St. Petersburg.