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Power Vacuum  in Somalia Gives Way to New Threats

A senior African Union official said Tuesday that while al-Shabab continues to be the main security threat in Somalia, the AU is also monitoring a possible resurgence of Islamic State. Francisco Caetano Jose Madeira, special representative of the African Union Commission for Somalia and head of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), said there has been an upsurge in terrorism-related violence in Somalia, where the electoral process has been dragging out. The latest report of the U.N. secretary-general on Somalia, which came out last week, also details attacks by pro-Islamic State groups, including attacks on the Somali military and at a market. Several al-Shabab attacks are also detailed. U.N. chief Antonio Guterres’ special representative in Somalia, James Swan, also addressed council members. He said al-Shabab continues to pose the major security threat in the country, through the widespread use of improvised explosive devices. Swan said Somalia’s national elections are now more than one year behind the constitutionally stipulated schedule. Upper House elections have concluded but just 130 of 275 seats in the House of the People have been filled. Swan, as well as most Security Council members, called on the electoral bodies and political leaders to speed up and complete the elections.