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AU vows to safeguard security gains in Somalia ahead of troop exit

MOGADISHU, (Xinhua) — A high-level delegation from the African Union Commission has wrapped up their assessment visit to Somalia by vowing to preserve the hard-won stabilization gains achieved so far, ahead of the exit of the AU peacekeeping troops.

The delegation, led by the head of Peace Support Operations Division, Cheick Dembele, reassured the Somali people that there will be no security vacuum following the exit of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) in December.

“We have to make it in a professional and organized manner so that there is no security vacuum and the gains earned during the 17 years of presence are not lost,” Dembele said in a statement issued in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, Sunday evening.

A tripartite committee, comprising ATMIS, the UN Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), and the Somali government, would ensure a smooth transfer of security responsibilities to Somali security forces, the statement said.

The purpose of the delegation’s visit was to conduct a strategic assessment to help outline the modalities for a smooth transition of security responsibilities from ATMIS to Somali security forces and the establishment of a post-ATMIS African Union-led peace support operation, it said.

The delegation is expected to submit a comprehensive assessment and planning report to the AU Peace and Security Council outlining the framework for the post-ATMIS security arrangement.

“The Peace and Security Council will meet to consider the report of our mission with a strategic concept of operations to ensure a smooth takeover of the new mission devoid of disconnect between ATMIS and post-ATMIS security arrangements,” Dembele said.

ATMIS has completed the first and second phases of its drawdown of 5,000 troops and handed over 13 military bases to the Somali security forces.

An additional 4,000 troops are expected to be withdrawn by the end of June, ahead of their exit from Somalia by the end of December, according to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2710, which was adopted in 2023.

There are plans to establish a post-ATMIS force to help protect strategic population centers, UN facilities and key government installations. 

Source: Xinhua

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