New AU Special Representative arrives in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia has welcomed the new special representative of the African Union Commission [AUC] chairperson Moussa Faki, following the explosion of veteran Mozambique diplomat Francisco Madeira, whose relationship with the then opposition had significantly declined.
On Saturday, Comorian diplomat Souef Mohamed Al-Amine reported in the Somali capital Mogadishu, where he was introduced to the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] high-ranking members, who he is expected to lead as the team continues with peace processes in the Horn of Africa nation.
Before moving to Mogadishu, Al-mine was the head of the regional office for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali [MINUSMA] in Gao a position he served from August 2020. He is an experienced peacekeeper and an administrator par excellence according to those who know him.
He now inherits a country and a force that is currently struggling to keep Al-Shabaab at bay, following intensified operations across the nation where ATMIS is playing a crucial role. ATMIS forces along with the US Africa Command and local militia have been assisting Somali National Army [SNA] to regain ground.
In 2020, former Somalia Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble declared Francisco Madeira "persona non grata" following evidence of meddling in the country's internal affairs. At that time, the Mozambican diplomat was accused of working closely with former President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo to the opposition's detriment.
As the new ATMIS boss, Al-Amine will be expected to work closely with all troops contributing nations which include Kenya, Ethiopia, Burundi, Uganda, and Djibouti along with the United States which is actively involved in the war against the militants who control large swathes of rural central and southern Somalia.
African Union expects to withdraw completely from Somalia in the next 24 months but not until stability is achieved. In compliance with the Somali Transition Plan, the ATMIS team is expected to leave long after it has equipped and trained SNA soldiers to take care of the country's security plan.
Besides the Al-Shabaab threat, the new envoy will also ensure that the civilian casualties are substantially reduced and ATMIS focuses on the main mandate. Previously, there have been complaints about killing and injuring civilians, something which triggered the recent sentencing of soldiers attached to the Uganda People's Defense Forces [UPDF].
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has been moving across the country to motivate soldiers fighting in the Al-Shabaab war and on Saturday, he toured parts of Galmadug and HirShabelle. Hassan Sheikh encourages civilians to take arms against the militants.