The delegation led by Alhaji Sarjoh Bah, director of conflict management within the Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department of the AU Commission, said the AU will ensure there is no security vacuum in Somalia as preparations begin for Phase Three drawdown of a further 4,000 troops by June.
"We remain committed to ensuring that, number one, we stick to the timelines of the drawdown. Of course, we have had two extensions in the last two drawdowns," Bah said in a statement issued in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. "And so, except in situations of force majeure, we remain determined and resolute in ensuring that by Dec. 31, 2024, we will have completed the drawdown."
The focus of the AU team’s engagements was to outline the modalities for a seamless transition of security responsibilities from the AU Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) to Somali security forces and post-ATMIS security arrangements.
During the meetings, the delegation reflected on the lessons learned from both Phase One and Two drawdowns, the forthcoming Phase Three in June, which requires a further drawdown of 4,000 troops, and the subsequent phase after ATMIS ends on Dec. 31.
Bah stated that the AU will be flexible and consider any challenges that may arise for a seamless transition and to ensure there are no security gaps. "We want to ensure that the configuration, whatever it looks like, whatever its posture, whatever its mandate, is informed by a very comprehensive security assessment that focuses on the threats and other variables," Bah said.
The AU delegation also engaged with UN officials, international partners, ambassadors from ATMIS Troop Contributing Countries, and representatives from civil society.
The delegation will submit a report to the African Union Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council. The document will outline the parameters for a post-ATMIS security configuration in January 2025.