Troops Contributing Countries support Somalia's quest for technical pause of ATMIS exit

FILE - An African Union peacekeeper from Uganda provides security as Somali lawmakers arrive to cast their vote in the presidential election, at the Halane military camp in Mogadishu, May 15, 2022.

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia's quest for the United Nations Security Council to have ongoing exit of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] troops technically paused received significant backing on Thursday, multiple sources confirmed, with most Troops Contributing Countries supporting the move.

At the Security Council last week, Somalia sent a detailed letter to the security team in the UN, requesting the body to prevail upon ATMIS to stop the withdrawal process for the next three months. The country is fighting Al-Shabaab on all frontlines with the peacekeepers' help. 

Sources privy to ongoing discussions revealed that all the five AU countries with troops in Somalia strongly supported Somalia's request to delay ATMIS troop drawdown for 3 months, a move which would allow the Horn of Africa nation to mobilize resources and troops before the exit of peacekeepers adequately.

The foreign ministers of the five countries sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, and UN Security Council president Ferit Hoxha confirming their support, sources said, in a dramatic move that would see their stay in Somalia prolonged for a while.

Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Burundi jointly contribute to over 99 percent of the soldiers serving in ATMIS. In June 2000 soldiers exited service in Somalia and by the close of business on Saturday, it was anticipated that an additional 3,000 soldiers would leave the country.

By estimate, it was anticipated that by the end of December 2024, most if not all ATMIS troops would have left the country, subsequently, handing over security responsibilities to the Somali National Army [SNA]. Several SNA soldiers have been trained to take over, the government has confirmed. 

Somalia is confronting the Al-Shabaab militants and currently, there are ongoing operations against the group in central regions within HirShabelle and Galmadug states. The government also plans to initiate the second phase of operations against the militants in Jubaland and Southwest states.

Earlier this year, Somalia had made a request to Kenya, Djibouti, and Ethiopia to deploy non-ATMIS troops to the country who would have worked under the Somali National Army for at least 90 days. However, to date, the three countries have yet to confirm the deployment of the soldiers.


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