It is not yet time to withdraw from Somalia: AMISOM commander

The Ugandan commander of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) contingent in Somalia has warned against the ongoing downsizing of the peacekeeping force in the Horn of the African nation, where the battle to counter the Al Shabaab insurgency.

Brigadier Gen Paul Lokech told a contingent of Ugandan journalists who were on a press tour of Somalia that the development could have a consequential negative impact on efforts to stabilize the country.

African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers from Burundi patrol after fighting between insurgents and government soldiers erupted on the outskirts of Mogadishu (Image: Reuters)

“From a military perspective, I would say it is not yet time for us to draw down. We need time to prepare the local forces for a transition,” Lokech said.

From a military perspective, I would say it is not yet time for us to draw down. We need time to prepare the local forces for a transition.

The United Nations directed AMISOM to start on a gradual reduction of its forces and already 1,000 personnel sent back home.

Plans were underway to cut the same number in October this year, from the current 21,000 peace-keeping fighters in the area.

The United Nations proposal has been endorsed by the African Union peace and security council.

The UN wants AMISOM to eventually handover to the Somali National Army (SNA) by 2021.

During the press briefing at his base in Mogadishu, Lokech explained that they had trained a number of personnel of the SNA as they prepare them to take over but added that the process takes time.

AMISOM is comprised of Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sierra Leone.

AMISOM has been helping the Somali government in battling militant group Al-Shabaab since 2007.

Source: Africa News

Akshat Verma

The Kootneeti Team - Africa Watch

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