United Nations Security Council has on Friday, adopted a resolution that requires AMISOM, a regional peacekeeping force in Somalia, to cut 1,000 troops from the over 2,500-strong
Force, indicating to prepare the Somali National Army to take charge of the affairs of the war-torn Islamic country.
“Renewing its authorization of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) for one year ahead of national elections in 2020, the Security Council decided to maintain deployment and reduce uniformed personnel by 1,000 in line with the existing plan to gradually transfer such responsibilities to Somali security forces,” UN officials told The Homeland Newspaper.
Accordingly UPDF has called for caution, arguing that the reduction in troop numbers must be in conformity with the delicate balance of insulating the gains made and the need to empower the Somali National Army to deal with the al-Shabaab militia threat.
Lt Col Deo Akiiki, the UPDF deputy spokesperson, although the troop-contributing countries (TCCs) started the draw-down last year, the assessment on the ground is that the Somali National Army is yet to gain the needed capability to deal with al-Shabaab.
“As you remember, we already reduced our troops by about 200 as part of the first drawdown across all TCCs in 2018. Much as we have to implement the UN resolution, we also know the Somali army is not yet capable of singlehandedly handling the current security challenges it faces.
The resolution ordering the reduction in troops, which was put forward by Britain, means that AMISOM will have 19,626 uniformed personnel by February 2020.
Under the transition plan from AMISOM to Somali National Army, which was endorsed in 2017, before Somalia goes to the polls in 2020, all troops should be withdrawn, with
only 1,040 police officers from contributing countries being retained.
Uganda was the first country to deploy troops in Somalia in 2007. Other contributing countries under AMISOM include Kenya, Burundi, Djibouti, and Ethiopia.