The third intelligence and information sharing conference, aimed at forging closer working ties between various intelligence actors in Somalia, opened in the capital Mogadishu today.
The Deputy Force Commander of the AU Mission in Somalia, Maj-Gen Charles Tai Gituai is rooting for more efficient intelligence sharing modalities among the actors, in order to maximize results.
“Intelligence must be collected and used in a way that ensures operational efficiency without threatening the legitimacy and impartiality necessary for the peace mission to carry out its work effectively,” Maj. Gen. Gituai said in his opening remarks.
The conference will explore access to non-traditional information sources, discuss enhancement of intelligence sharing and dissemination, and emerging threats from terror group Al-Shabaab, even as the militants find themselves extremely weakened from the onslaught from the Federal Government, AU and partner forces.
“Intelligence is fundamentally important to the peace mission, to give decision makers multi-dimensional situational awareness through coordinated analysis of information by the different components of a mission”, Maj-Gen Gituai told participants attending the third information sharing conference. They include intelligence officers drawn from AMISOM’s sectors, Somali security forces and key international security partners.
He stressed the importance of “effective processes and structures”, that would ensure information gathered is shared and stored securely, for the benefit of all stakeholders.
The Deputy Force Commander cautioned participants on over-reliance on the sheer quantity of information, arguing that information overload may sometimes undermine accurate interpretation of data. “The situation we are in now, is that the question is no longer whether intelligence should be shared, but rather how, when, and to what effect”, he told the conference.
“Part of the primary emphasis of intelligence/information sharing is to facilitate, identify, deter and respond to emerging terrorism-related threats and risks in a more streamlined system of which also benefits the agencies, in theatre, and local entities in supporting ongoing efforts to address security and threats.”
The conference is being held with the support of the United Kingdom Mission Support Team (UKMST), and aims to improve the mechanisms and coordination of information sharing among diverse groups, with emphasis on intelligence sharing, which has been vital in preventing terror attacks in the past.
AMISOM’s Chief Military Intelligence Officer Col. Naboth Mwesigwa said the conference would “strengthen intelligence gathering”, while at the same time, help in the modification of defences and offensive capabilities, while building confidence and ties with both partners and the Federal Government of Somalia.