A team from the UN and African Union missions in Somalia ended a three-day visit to southern Somalia on Thursday to assess ongoing preparations for transfer of security responsibilities to the government.
Francisco Madeira, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission, and Lisa Filipetto, head of the UN Support Office in Somalia, visited Kismayo and Baidoa to gain a better understanding of challenges facing AMISOM’s activities in the various sectors.
“For us, the more immediate concern is to see how our forces are operating, are faring, how our police forces are doing and also what challenges they are facing and how we can address them together,” Madeira said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
He said preparations are part of a multifaceted plan to increase the involvement of federal and state governments in the affairs of the country as part of the UN Security Council which authorized condition-based transfer of security responsibilities to Somali national security forces.
The AU envoy said the trip was aimed at preparing staff in Mogadishu and in the sectors for the transition which commenced in December 2017 with the reduction of 1,000 AMISOM soldiers.
“We are in transition, we have to prepare ourselves for the transition and I came here to see what we already have in place for the process, the needs, the possible challenges we might face and the priorities that we need to put in place in preparation for the transition,” Madeira said.
Both Madeira and Filipetto assessed various AMISOM activities in the field to get firsthand information on the challenges faced by the staff.
AMISOM has developed a conditions-based transition plan to transfer the national security responsibility from the AU troops to the Somali security forces guided by the rule of law and respect for human rights.
“We can hear a lot when we are in the headquarters but it is important that we come on the ground and see the challenges faced,” Filipetto said.
She said the two missions will work closely with AMISOM to improve coordination and service delivery to enable the former deliver its mandate as per the UN requirements.
The visit comes at a time when the peacekeeping force is expected to further reduce its forces in the country in accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolution.
The AU mission, Somalia AMISOM and development partners have agreed on a transition plan, which was the topic of discussion at a high-level meeting in Brussels in May.
In 2017, the UN Security Council authorized a gradual troop reduction amid transition of security responsibility to Somali National Security Forces.