UN cuts Amisom troops, pushes mission to 2018

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The United Nations Security Council extended its authorisation of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) until 31 May 2018, approving a reduction of its uniformed personnel to a maximum 21,626 by 31 December 2017, with an eye towards the gradual handover over of responsibilities to Somali security forces.

Unanimously adopting a new resolution, the Council decided that the downsizing – the first ever for the African-led operation – would include a minimum of 1,040 AMISOM police personnel and five Formed Police Units.

A further reduction (from the current maximum of 22,126) to 20,626 uniformed personnel by 30 October 2018 would follow, unless the Council decides to accelerate that pace, taking into account the capabilities of Somali security forces.

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.

Further by the text, AMISOM’s strategic objectives would be to enable the gradual handover of its security responsibility to Somali security forces, to reduce the threat posed by Al-Shabaab and other armed opposition groups, and to assist Somali security forces in providing security for Somalia’s political process and peacebuilding efforts.

The Council decided that AMISOM’s priority tasks would be, among other efforts, to conduct targeted offensive operations against Al-Shabaab and other armed opposition groups, including jointly with the Somali security forces, and to mentor the latter in cooperation with the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and in line with national security structures.

It would reconfigure, as security conditions allowed, in favour of police personnel, and receive defectors on a transitory basis.

AMISOM reiterates its commitment to continue supporting Somali Police Force

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has reiterated its commitment to help establish a strong and professional police force capable of handling security challenges facing the horn of Africa country.

The remarks were made on Thursday by the AMISOM Police Coordinator for Operations, Daniel Ali Gwambal, during the closing ceremony of a 10-day training course on child protection and basic counter insurgency for Somali police officers held in Mogadishu. The training was conducted by officers from the AMISOM Police component.

“AMISOM is ready at any time to offer training and contribute to the development of Somalia,” Mr. Gwambal said at the function presided over by the Somali Police Force (SPF) Commissioner, Brig. Gen. Abdihakim Dahir Said, and attended by senior police officers.

Mr. Gwambal urged the participants to put into practice and also share the knowledge they have acquired with their colleagues.

“As you go out to the field I want you to impart to your colleagues the same training you have gotten here and that is how we will be able to develop our capacities as police officers,” Mr. Gwambal added.

Speaking at the function, SPF Commissioner, Brig. Gen. Abdihakim Dahir Said, noted that the trainings were timely and of priority to the force, given the changing nature of crime in the country.

“This training was important to the extent that we had to postpone other trainings and fast track this one so as to enhance the skills and capacity of the police,” Brig. Gen. Said stated.

He added that the trainings were in line with the decision of the SPF leadership to localize basic and non-specialized training to help in strengthening capacity of the force.

“We will continue to improve the training and quality of our police so that they can safeguard the community and restore peace in the country,” Brig. Gen. Said observed.

SPF Director of Training, Brig. Gen., Hassan Alasow Mohamed, said the participants were taken through complex security issues to broaden their knowledge on policing matters.

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