Amid military setbacks, Mogadishu asks for pause to African Union’s 2nd-phase troop drawdown of 3,000 peacekeepers from Somalia
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 terror group in the country’s central regions amid military setbacks.
In a communique 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 organ 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.
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 center, based in Mogadishu.
“Somalia needs a fraction of US and EU funding to Ukraine to defeat Al-Shabaab, a global terrorist organization,” 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 Africa 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 reorganization 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 multidimensional mission authorized 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 terror group.