AU conclude discussion with Somalia over new military mission

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The roadmap on the future of AMISOM in Somalia has been determined following the successful conclusion of talks between the African Union [AU] and the Federal Government of Somalia [FGS], after several months of talks in Mogadishu.

The new mission will replace AMISOM which has been operating in the country since 2007 when Al-Shabaab first struct the Horn of Africa nation which is still struggling with instability. The international partners were part of the talks, AU confirmed.

With the UN security council approving the establishment of AMISOM, the African Union has been renewing the mandate of the component, and the current mandate is set to expire next month. It’s after March that the new mission will take over in Somalia.

Technical teams from the AU and the FGS have been holding talks for the last couple of months and have since agreed on the framework on security handover from the new mission to Somali security forces in compliance with the Somali Transition Plan [STP] which had been adopted.

The documents contain details on the mandate, composition, size, structure of the proposed transition mission that will succeed AMISOM. The Director-General in Somalia’s Ministry of Defence, Hassan Said Samanthar, said a committee comprising of all stakeholders would meet to discuss the documents starting 14 February 2022.

Somalia’s Minister of Defence, Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur, was happy with the discussions and said it was a significant milestone.

“We welcome our international partners’ support in the realization of the full capabilities of the Somali security forces,” said Minister Nur. He explained that through the support of partners, Somalia gradually take over security responsibilities from the African Union.

The Chief of Policy Development in the AU Peace Support Operations Division, Zinurine Algahli, noted the importance of capacitating the new AU Transition Mission and the Somali security forces.

“We are very mindful of the plan that we have developed for the new mission to support the efforts of the Somali security forces. Both entities need the required support, in terms of logistics and finance, to be able to implement the plan effectively,” Alghali noted.

The Head of AMISOM and SRCC, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, noted the documents were mutually developed and were a true reflection of the spirit and letter of the Somalia Transition Plan.

“The aspects of operations, institution building, and stabilization, which are clearly outlined in the Transition plan, have been captured in a manner we all understand,” said Ambassador Madeira.

Ambassador Madeira however noted that under a new mandate, degrading Al-Shabaab would require capacitating the Somali security forces and the new AU Mission with force multipliers and enablers.

“For that, we need the right type and adequate quantity of enablers for both the Somali security forces and the new mission. We also need multipliers, to be able to support the Somali security forces. Therefore, securing adequate, assured, predictable and multi-year funding for the Mission’s operations and access to suitable equipment is pivotal.” Ambassador Madeira said.

AMISOM has close to 22,000 soldiers in the federal republic of Somalia and the size could increase under the new mission. The AMISOM team has been critical in shaping the security of Somalia and has persistently managed to put Al-Shabaab at bay.