Atmis funds shortfall signals slowed transition plan in Somalia

by Julius Barigaba

The Africa Union Transition Mission (ATMIS) in Somalia is facing fresh fears of missing out on key benchmarks against which the international community renewed its stay in the Horn of Africa country to meet its stabilisation.

This week, the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) said that while the ATOMIS mission has improved attacks on extremist groups and improved the country’s general security, there are signs that some key steps may be off plan. .

The 15-member AU organ, which deals with peace and security problems on the continent, said lack of funds is likely to hamper mission planning, posing a risky task for the nascent Somali security forces.

The Council, in a communique of the 1143rd meeting in Addis Ababa, “expresses deep concern over the inadequate, unstable and unpredictable funding for ATMIS, including significant funding shortfalls, which continue.” The meeting was actually held on March 7 but the dispatch was publicized only on Tuesday this week.

Somali National Army soldiers

Somali National Army soldiers at the Atmis Sector 6 headquarters in Kismayo on October 13, 2022. The AU says it will delay the withdrawal of its sanctioned military forces in Somalia. Photo | Steve Otieno | nmg

united nations special session


AUPSC said it is again asking the UN Security Council to hold a special session on predictable, adequate, sustainable and multi-year funding for ATOMIS for its full duration, which has not yet been facilitated Is. The African Union first asked the UN Security Council to consider the request in May last year. While no one has come forward to discuss the projected funding for Atmis, it is not the only concern of the AU.

The European Union, traditionally a major funder of the mission, says Somalia needs funding from the international community, training of security forces and support for its internal power-sharing reforms, in order for its transition to take shape. With only 20 months left before Atmis is out of the country.

provide a complete transition

By the time of its full exit on December 31, 2024, the AU force must provide a complete transition; leave the area under their control and hand over all security duties of uniformed, police and civilian personnel to the Somali security forces.

On 27 March, the EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa, Dr Annette Weber, told a private UN Security Council meeting on Somalia that ambitious timelines for significant reform of the Somali security sector were largely not being met.

The timeline is based on the targets the AU force was to observe, the benchmarks enshrined in UN Security Council Resolution 2628 and the Quartet jointly agreed by the Federal Government of Somalia, the UN, the AU and the European Union. has been prepared.

“Now, nearly a year into the ATOMIS mandate, very few of these benchmarks have been achieved,” he said on 27 March, adding, “We urge implementation by all actors and long-term planning including TCC (troop contribution).” encourage.” country) and AU, on the post-Atomis security architecture.

strategy, concrete action

The AU states that successful continued attacks by Atmis must be accompanied by “strategies and concrete actions to expand governance and state authority into newly liberated territories”, as well as water wells, clinics and shelters destroyed by Al and Emergency assistance programs should be launched to upgrade other facilities. Cheers.

As such, Atmis is tasked with helping to achieve the Somali Transition Plan (STP), as well as the Somali National Stabilization Strategy. It does this by promoting security and enabling emergency and long-term support partners access to the new free zones. It is also tasked with supporting Somali government institutions, especially the security forces. All that money is spent.

In a November 2022 communique, the AU Peace and Security Council delayed the drawdown by 2000 personnel, initially scheduled for 31 December 2022, by six months. Mantra of policing and defense of the country.

Amisom peacekeepers in Somalia

AMISOM peacekeepers in Somalia prepare for night patrols in 2019. For 27 months without pay, questions of accountability are beginning to emerge for various contingents of the Ugandan army deployed for peacekeeping operations in Somalia. Photo | Tina Smalley | AFP

al-shabaab attack

The AU Peace and Security Council decision in November came after one of the deadliest attacks by al-Shabaab, two car bombings in the capital Mogadishu that killed at least 121 people and injured more than 300 on the afternoon of 29 October 2022 Have become. ,

The Federal Government of Somalia security had been occupied for years by handing over control of strategic areas and forward operating bases (FOBs), in accordance with the Concept of Operations (CONCOPS) adopted by the UNSC to guide the transition process. forces to control.

But in the last one year, Atmis has surrendered only one FOB issue, which was handed over in January 2023.

Under its previous mandate as the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the force handed over strategic facilities including Mogadishu Stadium, Mogadishu University, Jad Siad Military Academy, among others.

Nevertheless, the AU is all praise for its peacekeeping force, claiming that since reconfiguring it in April last year, the mission has secured areas because of the commitment of the force’s army, police and civilian units. There has been tremendous benefit in doing so.

“An observation of the situation in the Atamis area of ​​responsibility over the past year shows a decrease in al-Shabaab activities, with the security situation remaining calm,” said Ambassador Mohamed al-Amin Souf, Special Representative of the Chair of the African Union Commission. Somalia.

Amisom and Somali National Army soldiers

The Somali National Army is preparing to take over the reins of national security from foreign forces under Atomis.

long term peace and security

Ambassador Souf said this while addressing journalists at a joint press conference held at the Mission Headquarters in Mogadishu on 1 April 2023 and said that ATOMIS is committed to helping Somalia achieve long-term peace and security.

In his own address to the UN Security Council on 27 March, Ambassador Souf indicated that peacekeeping and Somali security forces had “demoralized Al Shabaab” and continued to conduct joint targeted operations in their mandated areas, which Al-Shabaab has been denied freedom. Agitation.

He explained, “Our ability to pin down al-Shabaab has now seen our forces increase their ability to secure Somalia’s main supply routes and protect key population centers and vital installations and facilities.”


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