Ruto, Gelle insist on strategic ATMIS drawdown to preserve AMISOM gains

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Kenyan President William Ruto and his Djibouti counterpart Ismail Gelle have emphasized on the importance of aligning the drawdown of a regional force in Somalia with the country’s security capabilities.

The two leaders who spoke at a press conference in Djibouti appeared to suggest that they would not support any proposal to terminate the mandate of troops in Somalia without assurances of Somalia’s capability to effectively tackle Al Shabaab.

In line with the UN Resolution 2670, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) is expected to drawdown 2,000 troops by June 30 in a phased hand over of security responsibilities to the Somali security forces in the implementation of the Somali Transition Plan.

Ruto and Gelle insisted on the need to safeguard successes of ATMIS’ predecessor, the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM).

“As troop contributing countries to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) we agreed that the upcoming IGAD Summit should address the Somalia transition plan while safeguarding the gains made by AMISOM/ATMIS.”

They added that the drawdown must ensure Somalia’s security forces assume control of areas liberated from the hands of the Al-Qaeda linked jihadist group Al-Shabaab.

“On the regional front, we affirmed our common goal of promoting peace and stability in the Horn of Africa region,” Ruto said.

December 2024 exit

The AU Peace Mission has until 31 December 2024 to exit Somalia.

The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and the ATMIS have both reaffirmed their commitment to facilitate a smooth transfer of security responsibilities to the Somalia security forces.

Speaking at a joint press briefing held at the Villa Somalia in Mogadishu on June 8, AU Special Representative to Somalia Mohamed El-Amine Souef, and the Somalia Minister for Information, Culture and Tourism, Daud Aweis, said operations against Al-Shabaab to liberate remaining territories under their control were ongoing in various parts of the country.

“I wish to reaffirm our commitment to implementing the transfer of security responsibilities to the Somali Security Forces in line with the Somali Transition Plan and the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions,” Souef, also Head of ATMIS, assured.

Ambassador Souef expressed confidence that the FGS has generated sufficient forces to take over security responsibilities once ATMIS troops leave.

Phased handover

“I have full confidence in the capabilities of the Somali Security Forces. The SNA has over the last one year shown growing ability to conduct military operations against the terrorists group,” he said.

“I wish to sincerely commend the leadership of His Excellency Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in ensuring force generation as well as bringing onboard various segments of the Somali public in the fight against Al-Shabaab.”

Minister Aweis commended the Somali security forces for their determination in ensuring peace and stability across the country and urged security agencies to continue to work together to eliminate the threat posed by Al-Shabaab.

“As you all know, there are ongoing operations to eliminate Al-Shabaab in many parts of the country. In addition, the second part of operations led by the Federal Government of Somalia is expected to start soon,” he declared.

The Minister outlined various initiatives taken by government officials and agencies to ensure the Somali public enjoys relative peace and stability

The two leaders welcomed the arrival of the new UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Somalia Catriona Laing and pledged to work with the UN to stabilize the country.