Somalia officials discuss impact of AU troops’ withdrawal

The Federal and State leadership of Somalia have discussed the impact of the ongoing exit of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) troops, as the peacekeeping team withdraws from the Horn of Africa nation.

So far, at least 5,000 ATMIS troops have left the country in compliance with the Somali Transition Plan (STP) with another 5,000 set for exit in June 2024. The remaining team is expected to leave by December 2024 as the Somali National Army (SNA) takes over security responsibilities.

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

Abdullahi Sheikh Ismail Faratag, Somalia’s Minister for Interior, stated that the purpose of the two-day meeting is to strengthen the police forces at both the federal and state levels. The two levels of government complement each other on matters of security.

“Cooperation between the Ministries of Security and Police Commands at both levels is important to achieve the security goals of the nation. The Internal Security Strategy Plan, especially after the departure of ATMIS, aims to produce effective results that will enhance 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 female officers.

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 troop withdrawal from the country. The June exit would see 5,000 leave.

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

During the first phase of operations against al-Shabab, over 3,000 militants were killed with several others surrendering to authorities in Hirshabelle and Galmudug states. The second phase of operations is due to commence in Jubaland and Southwest states.

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