The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) marked a year of service in Somalia on Saturday with a renewed commitment to strengthening cooperation and building partnerships to enhance peace and stability in the country.
Mohammed El-Amine Souef, special representative of the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission for Somalia and head of ATMIS, said an overview of the situation in the ATMIS Areas of Responsibility in the past year shows a decrease in al-Shabab activities with the security situation remaining relatively calm across the country.
“However, we cannot afford to lower our guard since the Khawarij (al-Shabab) remain the greatest threat to Somalia’s peace and stability,” Souef told a media briefing in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Saturday evening.
The AU jointly with the Somali government reconfigured the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) into ATMIS. Following the reconfiguration, ATMIS became operational on April 1, 2022, effectively replacing AMISOM, and will work to prepare the Somali security forces to take over responsibility for security in the country by 2024.
Souef said the transition, which requires the transfer of security responsibility to Somali security forces, is already underway.
He said ATMIS has executed its mandate over the last year with the support of international partners whom he said deserve special recognition for the contribution and support that they continue offering the Mission.
“In this regard, I would like to reaffirm ATMIS’s support to the federal government and the good people of Somalia that we stand in solidarity with the communities facing the hardships of droughts and floods, and those displaced by wars,” Souef said.
He also paid tribute to the troop- and police-contributing countries whose men and women have paid the ultimate price in pursuit of peace in Somalia.
Out of cowardice, al-Shabab extremists have resorted to asymmetrical warfare targeting civilians and security forces, he said, but noting that the ongoing military offensive by ATMIS forces and the Somali National Army will prevail, and the terrorists will soon have nowhere to hide.
“We urge all peace-loving Somalis to continue working closely with the security forces to help the country achieve long-term peace and security,” Souef said.