AU Considers Delaying Withdrawal of Forces in Somalia Amid Al-Shabaab Resurgence 


ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - The African Union (AU) is currently reviewing a request from the Somali government to slow down the planned withdrawal of AU forces from the country, as it continues to battle the persistent threat of Islamist militants.

For over 17 years, the Al-Qaeda-linked group Al-Shabaab has waged a deadly insurgency against the fragile central government in Somalia. UN resolutions have mandated a phased withdrawal of the African Union peacekeeping mission, known as ATMIS, with a complete withdrawal of all forces by December 31, 2024.

The third phase of this withdrawal, set to see 4,000 soldiers depart by the end of June, is now under scrutiny.

According to an AU official who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Somali government has requested that the AU's Peace and Security Council (PSC) allow half of the ATMIS troops to remain in the country for an additional three months.

This would mean that only 2,000 soldiers would leave in June, with the remaining 2,000 staying until September. The Somali government has justified this request by citing the need to carry out a crucial offensive operation.

Currently, there are 13,500 ATMIS soldiers deployed in Somalia, tasked with supporting the Somali army and police in their fight against Al-Shabaab.

The AU's decision on the request to delay the withdrawal of forces will have significant implications for the ongoing efforts to stabilize the country and combat the persistent threat posed by the militant group.


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