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London conference aims for stable Somalia under new chief

12 May 2017

Meanwhile half a dozen pirate attacks have been recently reported in the region, after falling to zero in recent years, General Thomas Waldhauser, the top U.S. military chief in Africa said last month.

This year's conference brought together East African leaders and global aid groups, who are seeking to hammer out a solution for the nation, described by the United Kingdom foreign policy department as "chronically unstable and ungoverned".

The UK prime minister pledged a long-term commitment to strengthen Somalia's security forces and speed aid to the country, in which 6 million are affected by a lack of food.

The conference was hosted by British Prime Minister Theresa May.

According to Guterres, over six million Somalis, or almost half of the country's population, need humanitarian assistance, while some 275,000 malnourished children are at risk of starvation.

World leaders have gathered at Lancaster House in London for the talks, aimed at improving stability and prosperity in Somalia and boosting the humanitarian response to the drought, which charities say has pushed millions of people to the brink of starvation.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has repeatedly vowed to defeat al-Shabab within two years.

Somalia descended into chaos in the early 1990s after civil war broke out and since then has been plagued by drought and insurgency.

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"And when conditions allow, Somali troops will take over from their AMISOM allies", he wrote, referring to the African Union force which has been doing most of the fighting against Al-Shabaab.

Partly as a result of that, a range of regional forces including clan militias, the Ethiopia-backed Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamea militia, the USA -supported Puntland forces and a regional force in Jubaland have been reluctant to join a centralized force.

Save the Children chief Keven Watkins called for "decisive action" including increased help from the World Bank.

He said that "we fear the worst".

Newly displaced Somali mothers and their children in a camp on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia.

Political agreements reached by the federal government and regional administrations recently outlines the structure and the future size of the Somali army, police and regional forces.

They spoke at a high-level conference to address the Horn of Africa nation's deepening humanitarian and security crisis. Britain has an embassy in Mogadishu and has also sent an army team of 70 personnel to support Somali security forces and AU mission.

According to United Nations, drought in Somalia led to the destruction of crops and livestock, leaving more than 3.3 million people hungry every day. The situation continues to deteriorate and the possibility of starvation in 2017 remains very real, despite an already massive scale-up of assistance since the beginning of the year.

London conference aims for stable Somalia under new chief