Senior commanders from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), have concluded weeklong deliberations on their transition plan in Somalia.
The commanders evaluated the status of the implementation of the plan, which includes launching operations to flush out Al-Shabaab remnants; and building the capacity of the Somali security forces, to enable them take over the security of the country, as stipulated in the country’s National Security Architecture, agreed to by political leaders in April 2017.
“There is need to continually discuss in details how ready AMISOM is, in terms of manpower and logistics, in executing these tasks (training and operations), in the sectors, putting into consideration the operational readiness and the strength of Somali security forces to support the above tasks,” explained AMISOM Force Commander Lt. General Jim Beesigye Owoyesigire.
Resolutions by the commanders will be incorporated into the AU Mission’s Concept of Operations (CONOPS), which guides AMISOM’s military operations.
“So mainly it was a question of consolidation, meet the commanders in the field and be able to hear and listen to them and hear exactly what is going on down there and what the issues are, so that we can be able to re-organize ourselves and rethink our strategies going forward,” Major General Charles Tai Gituai, the Deputy Force Commander in-charge of Operations and Planning said.
With the transition plan in force, the AU Mission says it will place emphasis on tasks that will enable the Force achieve its agenda of complete pacification of Somalia.
“If the transition plan is to be realistic, without losing our hard-earned gains, AMISOM needs to be urgently supported with force multipliers, like attack and retreat helicopters, to conduct pre-emptive operations against Al-Shabaab,” Lt. Gen. Owoyesigire emphasized.
The commanders agreed to re-examine and assess the progress made with the transition plan so far, to enable it plan more effectively. AMISOM’s new mandate, requires it to facilitate a conditions based, gradual hand over of security responsibilities to the Somali security forces, without compromising gains already realized. “Our mandate is very clear, that we are here to eradicate Al-Shabaab, to help the Somali people to be able to live in peace; the communities to be able to start their economic activities and that is our focus,” stressed Maj. Gen. Gituai.
The weeklong meeting also discussed the operational capabilities of the Somali National Army (SNA) and sought confirmation of their resources, institutional capacity, training of additional forces.
“The issue at stake is essentially one; undertaking operations to disrupt, degrade and eventually destroy Al-Shabaab. This is the issue. There is no other issue,” remarked the AU Special Representative for Somalia and Head of AMISOM, Ambassador Francisco Caetano Madeira.
“There are many things that are required but the task is to identify Al-Shabaab, its whereabouts, plan how to reach the enemy and destroy him,” Madeira added.
SNA senior commanders attended today’s sessions, where they made a presentation on their operational readiness.