Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda, and Burundi which are the troop contributing countries to Africa Union Transition Mission In Somalia (Atmis) have backed Somalia’s request to delay withdrawing AU forces by three months.
The decision aims to prevent potential security gaps as these forces leave the terror-stricken country.
One of the gaps identified in a joint African Union-Somalia technical report was Somalia’s current inability to guard residential areas near Forward Operating Bases (FOB) to be relinquished by ATMIS.
The troop contributors want Mogadishu to be given more time to generate own troops and other resources to ensure the areas do not fall back to al-Shabaab hands.
“Our aim is to ensure that Somalia has the space to address the pressing challenges without hastening the security transition process,” they wrote in a joint letter to the UN Security Council on September 23.
The African Union Peace and Security Council is supposed to facilitate discussions on how to continue funding the troops after September 29. The UN Security Council is anticipated to discuss the issue.
ATMIS had 21,000 troops but has since begun to reduce that number as part of a plan established in April 2022.
By December 2024, the Mission is supposed to be entirely out of Somalia.