The African Union Mission in Somalia has asked for a backup from the United Nations in peacekeeping, a move which comes days after Taliban militants took over Afghanistan, just hours after the US troops withdrew from the Middle East nation.
And now, the African Union wants the UN to keep eye on Somalia, in a move aimed at bolstering peace and stability in the Horn of Africa nation, to avoid a possible future takeover by the Al-Shabaab militants, who have been controlling the country for some time.
Since 2007, the African Union has deployed a strong force that is helping to rebuild Somalia, a country embroiled in inter-clan conflict among others. The force is largely in charge of the security sector in Somalia.
With Al-Shabaab continuing to carry out suicide bombings and other attacks despite being the target of frequent U.S. drone strikes, the Somali government has remained heavily dependent on the African forces to keep the militants in check.
For now, AMISOM, which has almost 20,000 troops in Somalia, will require new funding to extend its mandate beyond the end of this year. The AU wants its mission to be extended until 2027, and for the UN to provide additional backing, Bankole Adeoye, the continental body’s commissioner for political affairs, peace, and security, told reporters on Friday.
“We are calling on the UN, we are calling on all partners to continue to support Somalia knowing full well that we should not be thinking of the Afghanistan scenario on our continent,” he said.
“We hope by the end of October when we have to go back to the UN Security Council, we will be in a better place to say this is what Africa, Somalia, the UN, and the European Union all want together,” Adeoye added.
Last month, Amisom’s conduct in Somalia came under scrutiny when troops UPDF were implicated in killing seven civilians after one of its patrols was ambushed by Al-Shabaab in the town of Golweyn, 144 kilometers south of Mogadishu. Amisom said in a statement last month that it would investigate the incident.
The U.S. has been party to efforts to contain al-Shabab, which has waged its insurgency in Somalia since 2006 and wants to impose its version of Islamic law.
For US President Donald Trump’s administration increased troop deployments to the country in mid-2017 as part of an enhanced counter-terrorism effort in the Horn of Africa, but most U.S. forces were ordered to leave by early 2021.
While Trump said the redeployment wouldn’t undermine the fight against terrorism, al-Shabab has intensified attacks since the pullout.
However, there are possibilities of the troops coming back to Somalia are high after President Joe Biden gave such an indication. Some of the troops are currently operating from Wajir Kenya according to multiple sources.