Public information officers serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have been urged to embrace modern information communication technology to enable the Mission effectively counter Al-Shabaab propaganda.
The AMISOM Acting Deputy Force Commander, Col. Ali Nouhou Abdool, made the remarks while opening a three-day information operations training workshop for military public information officers (PIOs) in Mogadishu, facilitated by the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, established by the United States Africa Command.
He reminded the participants that AMISOM was dealing with a technologically savvy enemy who had no regard for rules of engagement, adding that Al-Shabaab was busy exploiting the power of social media to spread falsehoods, which must be countered at all cost by embracing modern technology.
“You must have realized how tough and crafty the enemy we are dealing with is. He does not use or obey the rules of engagement we do; he uses propaganda to damage our cause and mission. You see how aggressive he is in the use of social media. I urge you to use this workshop to equip yourselves with skills to match and fight this enemy,” Col. Abdool who is also the AMISOM Chief of Training observed.
After being driven out of the major towns, by AMISOM and Somali security forces, Al-Shabaab has reverted to asymmetrical warfare and abuse of social media to justify its war against AMISOM and killing of innocent civilians. AMISOM is currently coming up with effective strategies to counter the Al-Shabaab narrative.
According to Col. Abdool, the training is aimed at equipping the PIOs with better communication skills and is part of an ongoing initiative to enable the Mission achieve its mandate. The participants will be taken through best practices in communication and taught how to use modern technology for effective communication.
AMISOM Force Spokesperson, Lt. Col. Joe Kibet Murrey, noted that the training has drawn PIOs from all the Troop Contributing Countries and is meant to enhance their communication skills.
“Today we brought the PIOs to Mogadishu as part of AMISOMs continuous training so as to impart in them the newest techniques and knowledge. We also want them to share experiences and also reinforce, in our training, the requirements of our mandate,” Lt. Col. Kibet explained.
Major Robert Kamara, the Sector One Spokesperson who is also attending the workshop stated, “As a participant I have a lot of expectations. I expect to be brought on board on the current AMISOM communication plan, the communication strategy, get a deeper understanding of social media and also get to know other colleagues as we deal with the situation of managing the media and media operations.”