Call for Increased Efforts in Safeguarding Somalia’s Security Gains During Transition

Call For Increased Efforts In Safeguarding Somalia's Security Gains During Transition

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

The leaders of the African Union and United Nations have urged Somalia to protect the hard-earned security gains as the AU forces proceed with the drawdown in the country.

Zinurine Alghali, the acting head of the AU peace support operations division, emphasized the need for all stakeholders to safeguard the stabilization efforts. Alghali reiterated the African Union’s commitment to ensuring Somalia takes full responsibility for security in order to guarantee stability, development, and prosperity for the Somali people.

“We want to acknowledge the efforts of the AU Transition Mission (ATMIS) in implementing its mandate,” he stated in a press release issued in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, on Sunday evening.

Alghali and other officials from the AU and UN recently visited Baidoa in the Southwest State to conduct a technical assessment for the first phase of the ATMIS drawdown.

Mohammed El-Amine Souef, the special representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia and head of ATMIS, noted that the joint technical assessment for the first phase of the drawdown and the planning for the second phase are progressing smoothly. Souef mentioned that both the assessment and planning had to run concurrently due to strict deadlines, but ATMIS is fully committed to meeting them.

Under the current ATMIS mandate, UN Security Council Resolution 2687 requests the African Union and Somalia, in consultation with the UN and international partners, to conduct a joint technical assessment by August 31. This assessment aims to evaluate the withdrawal of 2,000 troops in the first phase, identify lessons learned, and assess the implications of the revised National Security Architecture and force generation. The findings will inform the planning for the remaining phases of the ATMIS drawdown. The resolution also calls for the reduction of 3,000 uniformed personnel by September 30, bringing the total number of military personnel down to 14,626 from 17,626.

Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, the head of the UN Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), expressed the UN’s commitment to ensuring a seamless transition and commended all stakeholders for the success of the first phase of the ATMIS troop drawdown.

“I would like to emphasize that the first phase of the drawdown, which took place in June, was a success and provided valuable lessons that will enable us to offer even better support in the second phase,” Kacyira stated.

She also highlighted the progress made by the tripartite technical committee, consisting of the Somali government, ATMIS, and UNSOS, in planning for the second phase of the drawdown.

Peter Kimani Muteti, the ATMIS deputy force commander in charge of logistics and support, who leads the ATMIS technical evaluation committee, confirmed that preparations are well underway for the withdrawal of 3,000 ATMIS troops.

The technical team is expected to submit their report to the UN Security Council by September 15.

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