The Somali government has announced that its forces are ready to take over the security responsibilities from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), amid concerns over the capability of government forces to handle the security of the country.
The government has stated that it will work closely with ATMIS and its international partners to ensure a timely and smooth transition of security responsibilities.
In a statement, the government expressed its appreciation for the sacrifices made by ATMIS and its troop-contributing countries in enhancing peace and security in Somalia.
The government also stated its intention to take over the overall security responsibilities from ATMIS by December 2024.
“The Federal Government of Somalia is keen to take over the overall Security Responsibilities from ATMIS by December 2024 and appreciates the sacrifices made over the years by African Union Transition Mission in Somalia and its troop, contributing countries in enhancing peace and security in Somalia,” the statement reads in part.
The announcement comes just days after ATMIS announced the conclusion of the first phase of its troop drawdown, handing over the last two Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), Aljazeera 1 in Mogadishu and Gherille in Jubaland State, to Somali forces.
ATMIS has handed over a total of seven FOBs to Somali forces, including Xaaji Cali, Miirtugo, Cadale, Albao, Gherille, Aljazeera 1, and Marka Ayub.
However, the drawdown of the 2,000 soldiers, 400 from each of the five troop-contributing countries (Burundi, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, and Uganda), has raised concerns over the capability of the Somali government forces to maintain security in the country.
Some analysts have expressed doubts about the readiness of the Somali National Army to take over the security responsibilities from ATMIS, given the ongoing threat posed by the terrorist group Al-Shabaab.
Despite these concerns, the Somali government remains committed to taking over the security responsibilities from ATMIS.
The government has been working to strengthen its security forces, including the Somali National Army, by providing training and equipment to its personnel.
The government has also been working to enhance cooperation between its security forces and the public to improve intelligence and counter-terrorism efforts.
The AU troop drawdown is coming at a time when the federal government is preparing to resume military operations against Al-Shabaab, which were interrupted by rains and deadly militant attacks.
The government’s commitment to taking over the security responsibilities from ATMIS is a positive step towards achieving long-term stability and security in Somalia. However, the success of this transition will depend on the readiness and capability of the Somali security forces to maintain security in the country.