AU asks AMISOM to avoid being drawn into partisan politics in Somalia
ADDIS ABABA - The African Union has asked the AU Mission Forces in Somalia [AMISOM] to remain neutral in their security undertakings as the Horn of Africa nation strives to mitigate the current electoral impasse, which has escalated to fighting between rival forces.
AMISOM is one of the most reliable peacekeeping forces in the federal republic of Somalia, which has struggled to formulate a government that runs without much friction. There are close to 22,000 AMISOM personnel in Somalia drawn from several countries.
In a press release on the 32nd meeting of the Coordination Committee [MOCC] on the African Union Mission in Somalia [AMISOM], the committee members insisted that the force should avoid being drawn to partisan politics in Somalia for the sake of stability.
This, the union added, will enable the force to successfully demilitarize Mogadishu, the Somali capital, which has been the epicenter of the skirmishes triggered by the current political stalemate, which has been going on for months.
"Importantly, the MOCC stressed that AMISOM should avoid being drawn into partisan politics in Somalia, but should remain neutral vis-à-vis the various political factions and parties, in order to effectively facilitate the demilitarisation of Mogadishu and environs," read the statement.
There have been complaints from members of the opposition who accuse the AMISOM team of siding with the federal government, which has often been accused of perpetuating impunity and total disregard for the rule of law.
The 32nd MOCC, the statement noted, underscored that the current crisis in Somalia is primarily political, even though it has grave ramifications for both the security situation and military operations. It also reiterated the essence of resolving the current political crisis through effective political engagement and action, including the possible holding of a T/PCC Summit, to provide the necessary strategic guidance to AMISOM.
In addition, participants noted that the political crisis has serious implications for the implementation of both the Somali Transition Plan [STP] and UN Security Council Resolution 2568  especially in light of the fracturing of the Somali National Army along factional and clean lines.
Under the Somali Transition Plan, the Somali National Army is expected to take over security responsibilities in the war-torn nation, but upon full withdrawal of AMISOM which is expected by the end of 2021. But the current divisions within SNA have raised doubt overcapacity of Somalia to take charge of security responsibilities.
The Meeting further reaffirmed the 17 September 2020 Agreement as the pathway to negotiations on the electoral modalities in Somalia, given its inclusiveness as a Somalia-owned and-led process involving the Federal Government, its Member States, opposition parties, and civil society.
In this context, the MOCC agreed on actions that AMISOM should undertake to prevent an eruption of violent conflict in and beyond Mogadishu – whilst ensuring AMISOM positions are protected and secured.