Call to Safeguard Somalia’s Precious Security Progress amidst Transition
In the midst of the African Union (AU) forces scaling back their presence in Somalia, officials from the AU and United Nations (UN) have urged Somalia to safeguard the hard-won security gains achieved thus far.
Zinurine Alghali, Acting Head of the AU peace support operations division, emphasized the need for all stakeholders to protect the stabilization efforts. Alghali reaffirmed the African Union’s commitment to facilitate Somalia’s assumption of full security responsibility, ensuring stability, development, and prosperity for the people of Somalia.
Alghali praised the efforts of the AU Transition Mission (ATMIS) in implementing its mandate. His statement was released in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, on Sunday.
Alghali and other AU and UN officials conducted a joint visit to Baidoa in the Southwest State to carry out a technical assessment for the first phase of ATMIS drawdown.
Mohammed El-Amine Souef, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia and head of ATMIS, stated that the joint technical assessment for the first phase of drawdown and planning for the second phase are progressing smoothly. Souef noted the concurrent execution of the technical assessment and planning for the second phase due to tight deadlines, but emphasized ATMIS’s commitment to meeting them.
In the current ATMIS mandate, UN Security Council Resolution 2687 stipulates that the African Union and Somalia, in consultation with the UN and international partners, must conduct a joint technical assessment by August 31. The assessment aims to evaluate the drawdown of 2,000 troops in the first phase and identify lessons learned, as well as the implications of the revised National Security Architecture and force generation, to inform planning for the remaining phases of ATMIS drawdown. The resolution also requires ATMIS to reduce military personnel to 14,626 from 17,626 by September 30, withdrawing 3,000 uniformed personnel.
Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, Head of the UN Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), affirmed the UN’s commitment to ensuring a smooth transition and commended all stakeholders for the success of the first phase of ATMIS troop drawdown. Kacyira expressed confidence that the lessons learned from the first phase will enable even better support for the second phase.
Kacyira highlighted the progress made by the tripartite technical committee, composed of the Somali government, ATMIS, and UNSOS, in planning the second phase of drawdown.
Peter Kimani Muteti, ATMIS Deputy Force Commander responsible for logistics and support, as well as the leader of the ATMIS technical evaluation committee, stated that preparations to withdraw 3,000 ATMIS troops are well underway.
The technical team is expected to submit their report to the UN Security Council by September 15.