The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, has called for urgent and timely support for Somali National Security Forces (SNSF) as the African Union begins to scale down its troops.
Speaking at a media briefing held in Mogadishu, the SRCC noted that timely and well-coordinated support is necessary to consolidate the gains already made in the country and enable SNSF assume full responsibility for the country’s security, once the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) exits.
“We must reiterate, however, the urgency for timely support for the Somali National Security Forces. The forces urgently need to be equipped with necessary weapons, key logistical support including timely payment of stipends, provision of quality medical care, establishment of key infrastructure including barracks and training centers among others,” SRCC Madeira who is also Head of Mission stated.
He noted that AMISOM will reduce its troops by 1000 before the end of the year, adding that realignment and redeployment of troops in all the sectors is ongoing.
“Troop movements have started in different parts of the country and will continue for the coming weeks. This is a process of realignment to effect the reduction in numbers and also begin the handover process of national security responsibility to the Somali National Security Forces,” SRCC Madeira noted.
The AU Special Representative, however, emphasized that the drawdown will be gradual and conditions-based to ensure the security of the country is not disrupted.
Commenting on the recent bombings, including the October 14 attack, in Mogadishu, which killed more than 300 civilians, the SRCC urged the Somali public to play their role in improving the country’s security by sharing information with the security forces.
“Every citizen has a role to play in this effort to ensure that Somalia is pacified and freed from all elements of terror. It is important to note that security forces cannot uproot Al-Shabaab from the communities if the residents do not play their part by sharing the necessary information with the relevant security organs,” Ambassador Madeira observed.
The SRCC observed that AMISOM together with the Somali National Security Forces can only enhance security if residents report, to the relevant authorities, suspicious individuals and movements in their communities.
He also urged the public to support the efforts by the federal and state governments to counter violent extremism, noting that Somalia was at a critical stage of transition towards peace and security.
The SRCC reiterated AMISOM’s commitment to support Somalia establish a strong army and police force capable of securing and maintaining law and order in the country.
“The focus for AMISOM going forward is to continue strengthening the capacity of the Somali National Army (SNA) and the Somali Police Force (SPF) as we begin the drawdown. Training and mentorship through joint operations will continue,” Ambassador Madeira added.
The head of the Mission noted that AMISOM together with the SNA will continue engaging in offensive operations to defeat Al-Shabaab and ensure the security situation the country is improved.