2 March 2018

Somalia: AMISOM Heads Meet Amid Security Concerns About Somalia

Photo: PPU/Daily Monitor
President Museveni addresses UPDF soldiers at the Amisom Halane Base Camp near Mogadishu International Airport in Somalia on.

Officials from countries that contribute to AMISOM, the African Union force in Somalia, are meeting this week in Uganda to discuss a transitional security plan for the troubled country. While AMISOM has made gains in Somalia, the risks still presented by militant group al-Shabab remain vivid due to inadequate funding and troop numbers.

Over the past few years, AMISOM has pushed al-Shabab away from major cities, and the federal government of Somalia has taken steps toward stability. With foreign help, the Somali security forces have grown stronger, and political leaders are aiming to hold nationwide elections in 2020.

These gains, however, are being undermined by inadequate troop numbers and lack of predictable and sustainable funding to fight al-Shabab and a small faction of Islamic State fighters in the north.

The five AMISOM countries are planning to start a drawdown of their troops in Somalia this year, and withdraw all of them by the end of 2020. Ugandan Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa says it is essential that the Somali government intensify its effort to provide security for its people.

“It is crucial that the drawdown of AMISOM is synchronized with a corresponding strengthening of Somali security forces," said Kutesa. "The failure to carefully manage this process could imperil the political and security gains already made.”

The ministers and defense officials meeting in Kampala say Somalis also have to make progress in settling internal political disputes, including tensions among clans and the periodic clashes between the forces of Puntland and Somaliland.

These are political issues that AMISOM has no mandate to handle yet they stand to undermine the little peace and stability already gained.

The troop contributing countries are also seeking support from key financial institutions such as the World Bank and African Development Bank.

Smail Chergui, the African Union commissioner for peace and security, notes that resource concerns could sink the fight against al-Shabab.

“More broadly, AMISOM will need to continue to enhance its operational effectiveness," said Chergui. "Our operational imperative of degrading al-Shabab requires that we maintain an offensive and not defensive posture, and the requisite configuration to allow for that.”

The AMISOM talks open Friday in Kampala.


Al-Shabaab Remains Major Security Threat to the Country

The Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militant group remains a potent threat to security in the region, although its capacity to… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 Voice of America. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 600 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.