MOGADISHU, Somalia – The Somali National Army [SNA] and the African Union Mission Forces [AMISOM] has promised to work closely together to coordinate joint military operations against the Al-Shabaab militants, with the liberation of several strategic cities in the country a high priority.
On Thursday, Force Commander Lieutenant General Diomede Ndegeya, SNA Land Forces Commander Brig Gen Abas Amin Ali and AMISOM and SNA sector commands agreed to be important in setting up a Joint Operations Coordination Cell.
The team signed a demand from the UN Security Council [UNSC] Resolution 2520 from 2020, which allows AMISOM to reconfigure and improve operations in the war-torn nation. The resolution is also in line with the African Union’s Communication 923 and the Head of Mission’s directive to the Force Commander to establish mobile and rapid response forces within AMISOM’s area of responsibility.
The agreements allow SNA troops and AU forces to conduct joint operations against al-Shabaab militants before fully implementing the Somali Transitional Plan [STP] which is currently being implemented. Under the plan, AMISOM will hand over security responsibilities to SNA in 2021.
“The mission takes a new direction when we reach the final phase and prepares for the transfer of security responsibilities to the Somali security forces. The reconfiguration will enable us to maintain operational efficiency, conduct offensives and respond to threats within our area of responsibility, ”said Ndegeya.
Ambassador Francisco Madeira, the de facto leader of the mission, noted that the reconfiguration of AMISOM was necessary for the mission to adapt to the reduction of AMISOM troops as part of the step-by-step phasing-out recommended by the UN Security Council. .
He also thanked Somalia’s international partners for their support in setting up a rapid reaction force for the Somali National Army. The AU forces control six sectors across the country and have worked closely with local forces to eliminate Al-Shabaab militants.
“I am pleased that each sector commander is committed to looking for their Somali counterparts. The Somalis have also committed themselves to looking for their AMISOM counterparts to coordinate, discuss and experience the action together, ”said Madeira, a Mozambican citizen.
The signing of the agreement marked the end of a three-day Sector Command Conference where the AMISOM and SNA Commanders reviewed the progress of conducting operations and planning future operations in line with the revised Operations Concept. [CONOPs] 2018-2021.
SNA Commander Land Forces, Brig. General Abas said it was important to work with AMISOM. He outlined the plan for the Somali National Army, adding that the plan worked after the liberation of many regions from al-Shabaab.
“We hope that our cooperation will continue and succeed against the enemy [Al-Shabaab] and liberate the remaining territories, ”said Brig. General Abas, who was recently ousted by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo amid an ongoing offensive against Al-Shabaab.
AMISOM Force Commander, Lieutenant Ndegeya, promised the readiness of the AMISOM military component to support the National Electoral Security Task Force to protect Somalia’s upcoming election process. Elections are due to begin in December and be completed by February 2021.