East Africa

After 15 years in Somalia, AMISOM forces are leaving this month.

The mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is slated to expire this month after 15 years.

“The African Union Mission in Somalia, sanctioned by the African Union Peace and Security Council and mandated by the United Nations Security Council in 2007,” AMISOM stated on Thursday.

The African Union Mission in Somalia began in 2007 with Ugandan troops, who transformed a mission that was previously dubbed “dead on arrival” into one that many other countries admired.

Djibouti, Burundi, Kenya, and Ethiopia are among the current soldier contributors.

Although AMISOM’s mandate was set to expire a few years ago, the UN Security Council has consistently extended it to avoid a vacuum when the continental force departs.

Despite the fact that the 15-year mission’s completion date is approaching, all evidence point to Somalia’s inability to manage its own security.

As a result, it is expected that the government in Mogadishu will sign a formal agreement with the African Union to have the mission stay in a hybrid form with civilian components for a set period of time as one of the ways to strengthen the Somali army’s capacity to be in charge of the country’s security.

Many have warned that withdrawing AMISOM forces at this time would be reversing the mission’s successes over the last 15 years.

In 2020, attempts to reduce the regional peacekeeping force’s soldier strength in anticipation for the mission’s conclusion began.

Experts warned that a phased handover to Somali security forces was required, as well as securing vital supply routes, reducing the threat presented by Al-Shabaab, and conducting targeted offensive operations to support the transition strategy, although this appeared problematic.

Because of this troop reduction, security achievements have been compromised, since Al Shabaab insurgent attacks have increased over time.

Background

The Ugandan army was the first to deploy in Somalia under AMISOM in 2007, and by that time, it controlled less than 10% of the damaged capital Mogadishu, with the majority of the city in the hands of Al Shabaab rebels.

In 2011, Al Shabaab militants were driven from Bakara market, which was one of the insurgents’ strongholds in Mogadishu, in some of the toughest clashes, and the jihadists have never returned to Mogadishu since.

Before allowing other countries to send forces to Somalia, the UPDF’s deployment debunked the myth that AMISOM was a “dead on arrival” mission.

Ugandan troops have forced Al Shabaab militants almost 200 kilometers away from Mogadishu city after being deployed in Sector One in Benadir, (which includes 16 districts), Banadir, and Lower Shabelle regions.

Kenyan troops are stationed in Sector Two, which includes the Lower and Middle Jubba regions, while Ethiopian troops are stationed in Sector Three, which includes the Bay and Bakool regions as well as Gedo (Sub Sector 3).

Sector 4 is manned by Djiboutian forces and covers the Hiiraan and Galgaduud districts, while Sector 5 is manned by Burundian forces and covers the Middle Shabelle region.

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