PM David Cameron: Somalia Must Be Helped

Somalia MapBritish Prime Minister David Cameron is warning that failure to help Somalia rebuild will lead to more terrorism.

Cameron spoke in London Tuesday as he opened an international conference on Somalia that is trying to restore order after more than 20 years of chaos and war.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said his country faces challenges, including the continued threat posed by militant group al-Shabab, but said Somalia can thrive after a period of international investment and support.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed eight people in Mogadishu on Sunday.

The Somali ambassador to Britain, Abdullahi Mohamed Ali, told VOA Somali Service that security is a top priority for the government but militant attacks will likely continue.

“But definitely we’re not expecting these kinds of attacks to be eliminated, and to be out of the picture. This is going to be an unrealistic ambition,” he said.

Britain says more than 50 countries and organizations were invited to Tuesday’s conference in London, with a focus on Somalia’s plans for developing its armed forces and addressing political issues, maritime security and the return of refugees.

It follows two international conferences held last year to support the country’s move from a transitional government to a new parliament and elected president.

Somalia had gone more than 20 years without stable central government, since the ousting of president Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

African Union peacekeepers and militaries in the region have helped push al-Shabab out of major cities, but the militants have remained in control in areas of the south and still carry out sporadic attacks on the capital.

Britain opened a new embassy in Somalia last month. Turkey, Libya, Yemen and Iran also have embassies there.

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