AU mission's reforms take shape in Somalia

The AU troops began operation in 2007 with aim to help Somali government defeat Al-Shabaab [Photo: AFP]

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The race to reform African Union Mission in Somalia [AMISOM] has taken significant steps following a meeting between the African Union and the federal government of Somalia, who are at the epicenter of the reforms.

In March, the mandate of AMISOM is set to expire following a three-month extension, and the two parties are rushing against time to reconfigure the mission with a possible joint mission with the United Nations.

Already, representatives of the federal government of Somalia and the AU team had tentatively agreed to have a joint mission with the United Nations but insisted on the full implementation of the Somali Transition Plan [STP].

Last month, there was a proposal to have a transitional military replacing AMISOM for a period of two years. Should this stand, then the number of soldiers in the mission will drastically increase?

The AU Transitional Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] which takes a similar form and shape as AMISOM will take over at the end of this year to prepare the ground for a handover of security responsibilities to Somali Security Forces, the two sides said in a joint statement on January 22.

Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur, Somalia's defense minister, said the plan will focus on the implementation of STP, which would have seen the Somali National Army [SNA] take over security responsibilities within the country in three years time.

STP is a comprehensive strategy developed by FGS and its partners to guide the gradual transfer of responsibility for security in Somalia to the Somali security forces.

"As suggested by the technical teams of the FGS and the AU, the mandate of the new African Union Mission in Somalia will be to support the Federal Government in fulfilling its strategic and priority objectives of the STP," the defense minister said.

Anita Kiki Gbeho, the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, stated that the UN is committed to the successful reform of AMISOM through consultation, cooperation, and coordination.

"Somalia's transition plan focuses on achieving comprehensive security change in Somalia, and the United Nations is committed to supporting this Somali-led process. I want to underline that reform of AMISOM's new mission is an important part of this effort, ”said Gbeho.

The AMISOM team has been operating in Somalia since 2007 since the Al-Shabaab struct and has close to 22,000 soldiers. Some of the members contributing nations include Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Djibouti, and Burundi.


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