The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has extended the mission of AMISOM in Somalia for two more months.
In a statement, the Security Council said it had decided to “authorize the Member States of the African Union to maintain the deployment of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) until 31 July 2018.”
Uganda’s Defence Spokesperson Brig Richard Karemire told ChimpReports on Thursday the move was intended to “allow the completion and submission of the AU/U.N. review report that will inform the July UNSC discussion on AMISOM.”
That strategic Joint AU/U.N. review of AMISOM has been ongoing in Mogadishu from May 10 – 15, 2018.
Karemire said while Uganda welcomes the “UNSC resolution extending deployment of AMISOM, we look forward to the consideration of outstanding matters raised during the March 2018 Kampala Summit of Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs).”
This Summit was convened in the wake of the challenges AMISOM was facing, characterized by a mismatch between the mission ideals and resources.
Despite the notable achievements, the situation remains fragile with Al Shabaab and other terrorist groups remaining a threat to the country, region and international peace and security.
Troop contributing countries have in recent months expressed concern over the UN Security Council’s main thrust being the phased reduction and draw-down of AMISOM troops by 2020.
They observed that the timeframes and troop levels under UN Security Council Resolution 2372 (2017) are not realistic and would lead to a reversal of the gains made by AMISOM.
They further noted that the draw down undermined the capacity of AMISOM to deliver its mandate and further noted the inadequate capacity of the Somali National Army and the importance of hastening the formation of the Somali National Security Forces.
TCCs urged the United Nations Security Council to reconsider UNSCR 2372 (2017) on draw down of the Mission, restore AMISOM to previous troop levels and stay any further reduction of AMISOM troops to allow; recovery of territory still under control of Al Shabaab and other terorrist groups; ample time for integration, reorganization, training and mentoring of the Somali National Security Forces.
At its 8257th meeting on Tuesday, the Security Council said it extended the AMISOM’s mandate as it looked forward to the report of the joint assessment by 15 June 2018 and recognizing the importance of adequate time to consider the recommendations of the report.
The Security Council emphasised its decision to authorize the African Union to reduce the level of uniformed personnel to 20,626, to include a minimum of 1,040 AMISOM police personnel including five Formed Police Units, by 30 October 2018.
It remains unclear if the UNSC will take note of the TCCs’ concerns after the joint assessment of the AMISOM operations in Somalia.
Nevertheless, UNSC requested the Secretary-General to continue to provide a logistical support package for AMISOM and 70 AMISOM civilians, the 10,900 Somalia National Army on joint operations with AMISOM, and the United Nations Assistance Mission in the war-torn country.