Somali troops require upgraded arms and financial support following ATMIS withdrawal according to former intelligence officer
Somalia Soldiers Urgently Require Modern Weapons and Funds as ATMIS Prepares to Exit – Former Spy Chief
Mogadishu, Somalia – In light of the imminent mass withdrawal of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) after more than a decade of service, a former senior intelligence officer, Abdirahman Mohamed Turyare, emphasizes the need for the international community to focus on equipping and adequately funding Somalia soldiers. He warns that without proper equipment, the withdrawal of ATMIS could create a significant gap, potentially exposing civilians in the country. The presence of mission troops has been crucial in maintaining relative stability in Somalia.
To date, over 2000 soldiers have already left the country, and an additional 3,000 are expected to depart this month. Just recently, Burundian troops handed over their base in the Middle Shabelle region to government forces, marking the initial transfer of 10 forward operating bases.
By the end of December 2023, the size of the ATMIS contingent is anticipated to decrease from 20,000 to 12,000, with the remaining troops expected to leave in 2024. However, some government officials suggest that the withdrawal should be postponed.
General Turyare argues that the military resources, including equipment and funds allocated for the AU troops, should be made available to the Somali army in order to bolster their military operations against al-Shabab. He suggests transferring at least a portion of these resources, stating, “If they cannot transfer all, at least some of it.”
Turyare acknowledges that the impact of the drawdown on Somalia’s security will depend on the progress of ongoing military operations. He explains, “If the government makes significant advancements in the liberation campaign in the coming months, it can better handle the reduction of AU troops. However, if the operation drags on without success, it will have a negative impact as the AU troops currently hold areas where civilians reside.”
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has recently reached out to Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti, requesting non-ATMIS troops to support the second phase of operations against Al-Shabaab. However, these countries have yet to confirm their commitment to the request, as no soldiers have been dispatched thus far.