Postponement Sought in Reduction of African Union Troops in Somalia Amid Ongoing Battle Against al-Shabaab
Request for a Three-Month Delay
The government of Somalia has reportedly requested a three-month postponement in the planned reduction of African Union troops stationed in the country. This move comes in the wake of a series of challenges that the government and its forces have encountered in their ongoing battle against the militant group, al-Shabaab. The information was reportedly gathered from a letter sent by the Somali government to the African Union (AU).
Current Security Conditions in Somalia
Despite concerted efforts to stabilize the region, the current security conditions in Somalia remain precarious. The Somali forces, while making significant strides, might not yet be fully prepared to handle the threat posed by al-Shabaab without the support of the African Union troops. The requested delay is an acknowledgment of the challenges that the Somali government faces in its fight against the militant group and underscores the crucial role of the AU troops in maintaining peace and security in the region.
Transition of Security Responsibilities
In April 2022, a resolution was adopted to replace the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), created in 2007, with the African Transitional Mission in Somalia (Atmis) led by the AU. The mandate of Atmis was reinforced to combat the al-Shabaab militants until the end of 2024. By this date, the Atmis contingent comprising over 19,000 soldiers and police officers will have been gradually reduced to zero, with the security responsibilities transferred to Somali forces.
Concerns Over Premature Withdrawal
The Somali government has expressed concerns over the premature withdrawal of AU troops, citing the ongoing threat posed by al-Shabaab. Deputy Somali Ambassador, Mohamed Rabi Yusuf, has assured that his government will undertake the necessary preparations in coordination with the African Union for the second phase of troop withdrawal. However, there are calls for caution against creating a security vacuum, which could be exploited by the militants.
Call to Lift Arms Embargo
As part of its efforts to bolster its security forces, the Somali government has called for the lifting of the partial UN arms embargo. The embargo, which has been in place since 1992, restricts the supply of certain heavy weapons to the Somali forces. The government argues that this embargo hinders its ability to adequately equip its security forces to counter the al-Shabaab threat.
The Role of the African Union
The African Union has played a pivotal role in supporting the Somali government’s efforts to combat al-Shabaab. The delay in the reduction of its troops will allow the AU forces to continue to support the Somali National Army in the fight against the resurgence of the militant group. The AU has also committed to maintaining the exit date of 31 December 2024 for its troops.
While the requested delay in troop reduction underscores the challenges faced in combating al-Shabaab, it also highlights the determination of the Somali government and the African Union to ensure peace and security in the region. It remains to be seen how the situation will evolve over the coming months and whether the Somali forces will be able to take full control of the security responsibilities from the AU troops by the end of 2024.
(Read More News at BNN Breaking)
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