The United Nations Security Council has reversed its earlier decision to have the African Union Mission in Somalia(AMISOM) troops reduced.
In a resolution unanimously adopted, the council recalled its earlier decision to authorize the African Union to reduce the mission’s level of uniformed personnel from 22,126 to 20,626 by 30 October this year .
The UN Security Council however advised thr troops to include a minimum of 1,040 AMISOM police personnel, including five specialist Formed Police Units.
There was also a request to the UN Secretary‑General continue to provide logistical support for AMISOM, its 70 civilian personnel and the 10,900-strong Somalia National Army jointly operating with AMISOM, and the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).
Last year, the council had requested AU and UN to conduct a joint assessment of AMISOM’s operations – but this assessment has been delayed, leading to Tuesday’s decision to extend the deployment of AMISOM forces for just over two months, in order to assess the merits of a longer extension.
Briefing the council on Tuesday, Michael Keating, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, said that the force continues to play an indispensable role, “at great human cost”, in protecting population centres, main supply routes and Somalia’s overall political progress.
“Suffice to say that successful security transition will require not just deep reform of the Somalia security forces but also, as the AU Commission Chairperson and UN Secretary-General’s Envoys noted, transformation of AMISOM,” he noted.
Such transformation would entail more flexible joint operations and combat mentoring; greater emphasis on policing; adequate enablers and force multipliers, together with stronger accountability,he said.
“The AU-UN joint review is likely to underscore that the foremost requirement for success is the need for unity of purpose among Somali actors, as well as between the Somalis, the AU, the troop-contributing countries, and principal security partners,” Keating said.
Uganda is the largest troop contributor of the 22,000 strong AMISOM force since 2007, contributing roughly 80 percent of the number.
Recently,the UPDF started scaling down the number of troops deployed in Somalia as had been resolved by the United Nations Security Council.