Plans to ensure the first phase of troop drawdown by African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) does not “negate” security gains made to date are underway by the mission’s six troop contributing countries (TCCs).
Senior representatives of the six countries met in Kampala late last month where Ugandan Foreign Affairs Minister Odongo Abubakhar told those present it was critical to plan for “a successful exit of African Union (AU) troops”. Other countries at the meeting were Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.
He said further, according to an ATMIS statement, it is “prudent to effect joint assessment of the security situation, planning and co-ordination as TCCs to execute draw down timelines and for the government of Somalia to ensure force generation and integration to assume security responsibilities”.
Head of the European Union (EU) delegation to Uganda, Jan Sadek said developing the capability of the Somali Security Forces was critical to ensuring the long-term security of Somalia and the region.
“Strengthening the capacity of the Somali Security Forces and governance actors to take over responsibility for protecting the people must remain a key objective of all Somalia’s partners.
The only exit strategy for ATMIS is thus to support the Somali security sector,” Sadek professed .
The fight against al-Shabaab has changed tack since Hassen Sheikh Mohamud became Somalia’s president last year. The more robust Somali-led approach is showing promising results. Supported by the African Union Transitional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), the Somalia Security Forces’ (SSF) full-scale offensive has liberated vast territories from al-Shabaab.