Under-resourcing of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is affecting the morale of the forces and may be forced to withdraw earlier.
Countries contributing personnel to the African Union Mission in Somalia met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 3 July 2017, and discussed the preliminary outcomes of the recently conducted African Union- United Nations Joint Review on the African Union Mission in Somalia.
Withdrawal by AMISOM may create a vacuum that can be exploited by extremist militants to cause more havoc and instability in the country and the region.
Activities by al-Shabab and other extremist militants have rendered Somalia unstable for many years and threatening the economies of neighbouring countries. Last month, officials say heavily armed al-Shabab fighters stormed a military base in Somalia’s semiautonomous state of Puntland, killing close to 70 people and wounding dozens more.
Officials called it the region’s deadliest attack in years, highlighting the dual challenges facing security forces from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab and the growing presence of fighters linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
The meeting was attended by the Vice President of the Republic of Burundi H.E Gaston Sindimwo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs from the Republic of Djibouti, H.E Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya, H.E Amina Mohamed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uganda, H.E Sam Kutesa and the AU Commission represented by the Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui.
The meeting noted that despite the unprecedented gains recorded by AMISOM, under-resourcing has continued to affect the morale of the forces and operational effectiveness of the AMISOM, increasing the probability for an untimely withdrawal of the Mission from Somalia.
The meeting also took note of the findings of the recently conducted Joint African Union-United Nations Joint Review on AMISOM, including its recommendation for a condition and time-based draw-down. In particular, the first phase of the drawdown process involving the reduction of 1,000 military personnel, which will be replaced by 500 police personnel by December 2017.
The meeting also took note of the second phase of the draw-down process, which will consist of an additional reduction of 1,000 military personnel by October 2018, but stressed the need for a realistic, viable and responsible draw-down, in full cooperation with the Federal Government Somalia in order to ensure that the gains achieved in the last decade are not reversed.