AU’s Plan to Withdraw Additional Troops from Somalia

Au's Plan To Withdraw Additional Troops From Somalia

The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) is making preparations to withdraw more troops from the country. This comes just a few months after the first batch of soldiers left Somalia according to the Somali Transition Plan (STP). The second phase of the withdrawal will involve the careful selection of 3,000 troops from various sectors, with 2,000 soldiers being selected from contributing countries. The successful completion of this phase is expected by June 2023.

The Somali National Army (SNA) has already taken over the Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), signaling the government’s confidence in its own security capabilities. The country has trained a number of its soldiers in Eritrea, Uganda, and Ethiopia. Mohammed El-Amine Souef, the Special Representative of the African Union Commission in Somalia and head of ATMIS, emphasized that the withdrawal will proceed as planned, highlighting Somalia’s growing maturity in handling its own security affairs. Souef expressed gratitude to the United Nations for its support in ensuring the success of the first phase of the withdrawal.

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Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, the head of United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), stressed the importance of adequately equipping the Somali National Army to effectively combat the Al-Shabaab threat once ATMIS completes its withdrawal. The UN’s role will be to ensure that the army is well-equipped for deployment. Despite the ongoing withdrawal, Somalia has requested the assistance of non-ATMIS troops from Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Kenya as it prepares for the second phase of operations, focusing on Jubaland and Southwest states.

Although the Al-Shabaab militants have been able to counterattack and cause casualties among Somali soldiers in certain instances, there is a sense of optimism within the Somali security forces that the country is becoming capable of managing its internal affairs.

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