The Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) for Somalia Simon Mulongo has asked AMISOM military commanders to implement the transition plan as per dictates of the United Nations Security Council resolution on gradual reduction of troops serving in Somalia.
Mr. Mulongo made the remarks yesterday during a sector commanders’ conference to discuss issues related to the transition and transfer of security responsibilities to the Somali national security forces as mandated by the United Nations Security Council late last year.
AMISOM is expected to gradually reduce the number of its troops serving in Somalia and reconstitute its forward operating bases with the cooperation of the Somali national security forces to ensure national security is not compromised during the transition period.
The DSRCC said the transition process would require doubling of efforts to further degrade and defeat the Al-Shabaab to a level that it cannot pose serious threat to the Somali national security forces.
He reiterated that AMISOM is focused on implementing the transition plan and urged troops to readjust their strategies in the fight against Al-Shabaab insurgents.
Said the DSRCC; “Everything we are doing now should be geared towards transition. The way you plan in your sectors, the way you plan in your units and other formations should be geared towards transition. How do we empower the local forces; how do we empower the local people so that they take over responsibility.”
Mr. Mulongo said the first phase of the transition plan would last four years and success would be measured against the ability of the country to conduct peaceful and secure one-person-one-vote elections in 2020, which, he noted, would be a major milestone if successful.
Mr. Haji Ssebirumbi, the AMISOM Senior Political Affairs Officer who made a presentation on the draft transition plan, highlighted that the Federal Government of Somalia is the lead in its implementation, with AMISOM playing a support role.
“AMISOM will draw down by 1,000 in October (2018). That’s a milestone, which we know. There must be therefore, reconfiguring of AMISOM in such a way that it must be able to defend itself with fewer troops because 1,000 drew down last year,” added Mr. Ssebirumbi.