Al-Shabaab’s Imminent Rise to Power in Somalia Post ATMIS Departure Predicted by Ruto

Ruto Expresses Concerns about Al-Shabaab Takeover in Somalia after ATMIS Withdrawal

President William Ruto of Kenya has voiced worries about the potential for Al-Shabaab to seize control in Somalia once the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) troops withdraw. He emphasized the need for a thorough review before the mission team exits the country.

The ATMIS contingent has been vital to the stabilization efforts in Somalia over the past 17 years. They have provided training and equipment to the Somali National Army (SNA), which will be taking over security responsibilities after the withdrawal of the mission team.

As part of the Somali Transition Plan (STP), more than 5,000 soldiers have already left the country in two phases, with another 5,000 set to depart next month. The plan aims for a full exit of ATMIS troops by December 2024.

During his recent visit to the US, Ruto expressed his fears about the potential for Al-Shabaab to capitalize on the troop withdrawal. He urged the US to intervene and prevent Somalia from falling into another crisis.

Ruto discussed his concerns with President Hassan Sheikh regarding the drawdown of ATMIS troops. He called on the US to halt the departure of the troops, emphasizing the critical role they play in the stabilization mission.

“We must change course now. If ATMIS leaves, Al-Shabaab will seize control,” Ruto warned, also noting his role as Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF).

The KDF has around 3,500 soldiers in Somalia, working alongside troops from Ethiopia, Djibouti, Burundi, and Uganda. Together, they have been instrumental in reclaiming strategic areas like Kismayo from Al-Shabaab.


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