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African Union endorses Somalia's peacekeepers drawdown pause request

October 6, 2023 at 8:27 pm

In this photo illustration, African Union (AU) logo is seen on a smartphone and African Union flag on a pc screen on Apr 17, 2023 [Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images]

The African Union has endorsed Somalia’s request to the UN Security Council for a three-month tactical pause to a drawdown of international troops fighting the Al-Shabaab terrorist group in the country’s central regions amid military setbacks, Anadolu Agency reports.

In a communiqué issued by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council late on Thursday, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia said it strongly supports the request for a pause to the drawdown of 3,000 of its uniformed personnel.

Issued from the Somali capital, Mogadishu, it underlined the Union’s

Solidarity with the people and the Federal Government of Somalia in their aspirations for durable peace, security, stability, and prosperity, which will benefit the Horn of Africa region and the Continent as a whole

The Council, which is the standing decision-making body of the African Union for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts also welcomed the commitment by troop-contributing countries Kenya, Ethiopia, Burundi, Djibouti and Uganda to work with Somalia and partners to secure financial support required for the transition mission.

READ: At least 18 killed in suicide truck bombing in Somalia

While the transition mission and Africa’s peace and security leadership decided to halt the withdrawal, it will ultimately be up to the African Union and other members of the international community to provide the necessary financial support to fund it, according to Abdirisak Aden, Executive Director of the Farsight Africa Research and Policy Studies Centre, based in Mogadishu.

“Somalia needs a fraction of US and EU funding to Ukraine to defeat Al-Shabaab, a global terrorist organisation,” he said.

The African Union’s second-phase troop drawdown aims to withdraw 3,000 peacekeepers from Somalia, while the mission has already pulled more than 2,000 peacekeepers from the Horn of African nation.

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 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

said a letter from Somalia to the UN Security Council.

The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia is a multi-dimensional mission authorised by the continental bloc and mandated by the UN Security Council to operate in the country since 2007.

The force aims to assist the Somali government in its fight against the Al-Shabaab, which has links to the Al Qaeda terrorist group.

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