The United Nations Security Council has extended its authorization for AMISOM in Somalia until 31st May 2018. The extension has been characterized by trims that will see the 22,000-strong force reduce at least 500 troops by 31st December 2017 in preparation for the transition and eventual handover of responsibility to the Somali security forces.
Downsizing is in line with the plan that will see the AU-led mission handover to the Somali government in a pace to be determined by the capabilities of the Somalia’s security agencies.
Emphasizing that the long-term objective for Somalia, with international support, is for the Somali Security Forces to assume full responsibility for security, with AMISOM remaining critical during the transition, the Council welcomed the recommendation by the AU-UN review for a “gradual and phased” reduction and reorganization of the Mission.
The Council decided that the role played by AMISOM is very strategic mainly in reducing the threat posed by Al Shabaab and as such emphasizing the importance of gradual withdrawal. The withdrawal would allow the configuration of security conditions allowed, in favour of police personnel, and receive defectors on a transitory basis.