3 February 2019

Somalia: Amisom Force to Be Reduced By 1,000 This Month

Photo: VOA
AMISOM peacekeepers from Burundi patrol after fighting between insurgents and government soldiers on the outskirts of Mogadishu (file photo).

Nairobi — The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is set to be reduced by 1,000 soldiers this month in line with the United Nation Security Council resolution.

In a statement, AMISOM said the resolution authorizes the member states of the African Union to reduce the number of uniformed AMISOM personnel by February 28 without "further delay".

On Saturday, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira met senior government officials from HirShabelle State to discuss the planned cut back in troops from Burundi.

HirShabelle President Mohamed Abdi Waare led the delegation.

"We have been discussing with President Waare on how we can implement the transition plan in a manner that still ensures security in his state," Ambassador Madeira said after a closed-door meeting.

Kenya Defence Forces have been part of the 22,000 AMISOM forces fighting Al-Shabaab militants who continue to pose serious security challenges in Somalia and the region.

The first reduction of troops from Somalia was undertaken in December 2017.

Burundi troops operating under AMISOM have their main base in Jowhar, the administrative capital of HirShabelle State and in several forward operating bases in the State.

"The transition plan is finally becoming a reality and there are painful decisions that have to be taken," President Waare observed.

The HirShabelle leader expressed concern that if hurriedly implemented, the troops' drawdown would leave his State vulnerable to attacks.

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