The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia and Head of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), Ambassador Mohamed El-Amine Soufe, has commended ATMIS troops and affirmed the mission’s commitment to ensure a safe and stable Somalia.
The SRCC made the remarks during a two-day working visit to the port city of Kismayo, to assess the mission’s performance and evaluate the welfare of the peacekeeping troops.
Kismayo which falls under Sector 6 area of responsibility, is manned by a multi-national force of ATMIS troops from the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and Ethiopia National Defence Forces (ENDF).
During the visit, the SRCC held a number of engagements with top ATMIS military commanders, led by the contingent commander, Brig. Gen. Lukas Kutto, and Jubaland’s Second Vice President, Abdulkadir Haji Mohamud and other top state level officials, where he was briefed on the security and political situation in the region.
“I had very productive discussions with the Vice President and members of the executive, I ‘am satisfied that we are heading in the same direction with the same commitment- that is the fight against Al-Shabaab” said Ambassador Souef.
The SRCC reiterated ATMIS’s continued support and that of other partners, especially in securing the region, to ensure peace and stability, and thereby enhance social, economic and political activity.
“This will be done not only by the leadership of Jubaland but with the Federal Government of Somalia as well as ATMIS. We want to assure that ATMIS will provide the necessary support as mandated by the UN Security Council Resolution 2628 and 2670 of last year.”
In his meeting with top ATMIS military commanders, the SRCC was also briefed on a wide range of issues, including the welfare of the troops and efforts to degrade the Al-Shabaab.
Briefing the media after the meeting, Jubaland’s Vice President, Abdulkadir Haji Mohamud reaffirmed the readiness of his administration to conduct military offensives against the Al -Shabaab with the support of ATMIS.
“We agreed to speed up the fight against the terror group Al-Shabaab and ATMIS has taken a strong position on this issue. We are very happy with this and our meeting went on well” the Vice President said.
Kismayo was liberated from the Al-Shabaab in 2012 in a joint operation by the Somali National Army supported by African Union troops and has since enjoyed relative peace and stability.