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Somalia requests UN Security Council to pause AU troops’ withdrawal for 3 months

September 22, 2023 at 7:59 pm

General view of the streets in Mogadishu, Somalia on May 18, 2019 [Cem Genco/Anadolu Agency]

The Somali government has requested the UN Security Council a three-month delay in the planned drawdown of the African Union Transition Mission Forces in Somalia (ATMIS) amid setbacks in the fight against the Al-Shabaab terror group, Anadolu Agency reports.

“Somalia formally requests a technical pause in the drawdown of the 3000 African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) uniformed personnel by 3 months, as outlined in UN Security Council Resolution 2687 (2023),” said Somali National Security Advisor, Hussein Sheikh Ali, in a letter to the UN Security Council, which Anadolu received on Friday.

Mogadishu’s request to the UN Security Council stemmed from the pressing need to address significant challenges and “profound” implications for Somalia’s security transition.

The second phase of the AU peacekeeping mission drawdown aimed to pull out 3,000 of its peacekeepers from Somalia by the end of this month.

READ: UK announces $6.2m to support Somalia in counter-terrorism

The unforeseen turn of events has stretched “our military forces thin, exposed vulnerabilities in our frontlines, and necessitated a thorough reorganisation to ensure we maintain our momentum in countering the Al-Shabaab threat,” the letter said.

The proposed 90-day suspension of the drawdown, Somalia said, will be invaluable in achieving these objectives.

The first batch of 2,000 peacekeeping troops left the country earlier this year as part of the Somalia Transition Plan (STP), a guide developed by the Somalia government and its partners to transfer security responsibility to the Somali Armed Forces.

The ATMIS is a multi-dimensional mission authorised by the AU and mandated by the UN Security Council to operate in the Horn of Africa nation since 2007.

The Force aims to assist the Somali government in its fight against the Al-Shabaab terror group.

Terror group leader, 7 guards killed

The Somali Defence Ministry, on Friday, announced fresh airstrikes in the south-western province of Bakool, killing a senior Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group Al-Shabaab leader and his seven guards.

The Ministry said in a brief statement that Isaaq Abdullahi, the leader of the terrorist group tasked with terror operations in the Bakool region, was wanted for anti-state crimes.

At least seven guards were also killed in the airstrike in Wajid, 90 kilometres (55 miles) from Baidoa, the administrative capital of South West State.

The Horn of Africa country has been plagued by insecurity for years, with the main threats emanating from Al-Shabaab and the Daesh terror groups.

The terror group has increased their attacks since Somali President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who was elected for a second term last year, declared an “all-out war” on Al-Shabaab.

READ: EU withholds food aid in Somalia after widespread theft uncovered by UN