Somali officials discuss impact of AU troop withdrawal

Somali officials discuss impact of AU troop withdrawal


MOGADISHU, Somalia – Somalia’s federal and state leaders have discussed the impact of the current departure of African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) troops, as the peacekeeping team withdraws from the Horn nation from Africa.

So far, at least 5,000 ATMIS soldiers have left the country in compliance with the Somalia Transition Plan (STP) and another 5,000 will leave in June 2024. The remaining team is expected to leave the country in December 2024 as the Somali National Army (SNA). assumes security responsibilities.

On Sunday, regional state ministers in charge of security, police and central government leadership held a meeting in Dhusamareb, the regional administrative capital of Galmudug, where the post-ATMIS exit and overall security realignment were discussed. .

Abdullahi Sheikh Ismail Faratag, Somalia’s Interior Minister, said the aim of the two-day meeting is to strengthen police forces at both the federal and state levels. The two levels of government complement each other in terms of security.

“Cooperation between the Ministries of Security and the Police Commands at both levels is important to achieve the security objectives of the nation. The Strategic Internal Security Plan, especially after the departure of ATMIS, aims to produce effective results that will improve the security and peace of Somalia,” said Minister Faratag.
Since the beginning of 2023, ATMIS police have successfully trained 1,101 Somali Police Force (SPF) officers across the country, including 193 women.

In January, the African Union Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) reported that it had handed over nine military bases to the Somali government, marking the completion of the second phase of the country’s troop withdrawal. The June departure would see 5,000 people leave.

ATMIS had a force of 22,000 troops in Somalia, mostly drawn from Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti and Ethiopia. The team has been instrumental in operations against Al-Shabaab in the central and southern regions, killing thousands of militants.

During the first phase of operations against al-Shabab, more than 3,000 militants were killed and several more surrendered to authorities in Hirshabelle and Galmudug states. The second phase of operations will begin in Jubaland and the southwestern states.