AU "disappointed" with Somalia's letter to UN on ATMIS withdrawal
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] could be "disappointed" with Somalia's letter to the United Nations Security Council on the withdrawal of troops from the country, citing a lack of adherence to protocols, in which could affect the relationship between the entities.
On Friday, the government of Somalia asked for a "technical pause" of the withdrawal of ATMIS soldiers from the country, a request which was tabled in the United States Security Council. Presently, ATMIS has close to 17,000 troops in Somalia.
Already, 2,000 soldiers have left service in Somalia upon implementation of the Somali Transition Plan [STP] with an additional 3,000 expected to leave by the end of this month. However, Mogadishu wants this move to be halted to allow effective coordination of security on the ground.
But a top AU official who spoke to the Voice of America on condition of anonymity said the continental body is not happy with the move, citing a lack of procedures, something which could ignite a rift in the coming days.
According to the official, the letter should have been addressed not to the UN Security Council but to the mandated organ which is the AU Peace and Security Council. They are the ones who mandated the deployment of ATMIS forces, the official noted.
In addition, the request should have been addressed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs or above, and then the Somali embassy in Addis would have transmitted. "You don’t wake up a few weeks before the drawdown happens, and you don’t even inform the TCCs [Troop Contributing Countries], said the official.
Further, the official adds that all of this confusion only benefits al-Shabaab and not the brave Somalis who are fighting against al-Shabaab, which both the government and ATMIS have been vehemently fighting in the last 16 years with some success recorded.
"The time has come for the Somali government to change course and have an honest conversation based on the prevailing and real security situation with its international partners starting with the African Union," added the official.
At least 3,000 soldiers are set to leave the country with ATMIS also expected to hand over security responsibilities to Somali National Army by the end of December 2024. The country is still experiencing insecurity but mechanisms have been put in place to flush out Al-Shabaab in organized operations.