21 December 2017

Somalia: AU Says Insufficient Funding Threatens Peacekeeping

Lack of funding is threatening the operations of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), an African Union (AU) official said Thursday.

Francisco Madeira, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia and Head of AMISOM, said the inadequate funding threatened the operations of peacekeepers and the Somali security forces.

"Without funding, little can happen to move forward with certain undertakings already made on the security front," he said during a media briefing in Nairobi.

Madeira said AMISOM needs support to conduct the last leg of military operations to recover territory that remains under the control of Al-Shabaab militants.

"We are planning elaborate offensive operations next year mainly in the Jubba valley, Gedo region and Middle Juba regions, areas that still harbor pockets of Al-Shabaab militants," said Madeira.

He revealed that AMISOM has been unable to undertake military operations in the recent past due to limitations in personnel, logistics and others.

"We need urgent support to recover the territories that are currently under Al-Shabaab," the envoy noted.

The Envoy observed that the Somali security forces need to be capacitated to take over the security responsibilities since the drawdown of AMISOM troops from Somalia entails the handover of some of the Forward Operating Bases in the sectors to the Somali National Army.

"A stable Somalia is critical for stability across the East African region and beyond. If we do not decisively address the threat of Al-Shabaab, they will continue to pose a danger to the whole world," he warned.

A review of the AU Mission in Somalia that was carried out by the African Union and the UN, during the course of the year, recommended a gradual and phased reduction and re-organization of the AU Mission.

The UN Security Council Resolution 2372(2017) extended AMISOM's mandate to 31 May 2018 and authorizes troop reduction, starting this December, as the Somali government progressively takes over AMISOM's tasks.

1,000 peace keepers have already left Somalia while a similar number will leave by May next year.

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