ATMIS chief rallies for international support to Somalia amidst the transition

The Head of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), Ambassador Mohamed El-Amine Souef, asked international partners to commit additional support to boost the capacity of the Somali Security Forces (SSF) to take over security responsibilities from ATMIS by the end of December 2024.

Ambassador Souef made the appeal on Friday, at a meeting in New York, convened by the AU Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations with Somalia’s international partners.

He provided updates on recent developments and perspectives on Somalia and the ongoing ATMIS operations.

The AU Special Envoy said increased international support for Somalia, including providing resources and equipment to the Somali security forces, would help to address the challenges that affect the ongoing joint operations and ensure an orderly exit by ATMIS from Somalia.

Ambassador Souef emphasised that as ATMIS prepares to exit Somalia in the next 18 months, the Federal Government of Somalia needs critical support to address its security priorities.

“We now have a conducive environment that allows for a more realistic and collective approach towards supporting Somalia. For the African Union, a realistic approach means we want to see our partners recommit themselves to addressing the emerging challenges confronting the Federal Government of Somalia and ATMIS,” said Ambassador Souef.

Highlighting the support to ATMIS, Ambassador Souef emphasised that for the AU troops to effectively support the Somali security forces during the transition, ATMIS requires helicopters and Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. 

He cited the recent attack on the ATMIS Forward Operating Base in Bulo Mareer, where the mission had to rely on partners for air support. 

“With the necessary enablers and force multipliers, ATMIS can do more to ensure force protection and support Somali Security Forces operationally in the field,” observed Ambassador Souef. 

Decades of violence and political instability have had a severe impact on Somalia and, despite improvements in recent years due to the presence of a multinational intervention force and the establishment of a nascent federal government in Mogadishu, there remain significant security challenges for those operating in the country.

The federal government was established following the withdrawal of al-Shabaab from Mogadishu in 2011 but it has limited control over much of the rest of the country, with al-Shabaab continuing to dominate some central and southern areas. The de facto independent northern regions of Puntland and Somaliland have also established their own administrations over which Mogadishu has limited influence.


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