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AUC Director for Conflict Management concludes working visit to Somalia, discusses security transition and post-ATMIS Security Arrangements

Sunday – 4 Feb 2024 {HMC} The African Union Commission’s (AUC) Director for Conflict Management, Dr. Alhadji Sarjoh Bah, has wrapped up a five-day working visit to Somalia. He led a high-level delegation from the Political Affairs, Peace, and Security Department which included the newly appointed Head of the Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD), General Cheick Dembele.

The focus of the engagements was to outline the modalities for a seamless transition of security responsibilities from ATMIS to Somali Security Forces and post-ATMIS security arrangements.

On arrival in Mogadishu on Saturday, the delegation was welcomed by the African Union Special Representative for Somalia and Head of ATMIS, Ambassador Mohamed El-Amine Souef; the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ali Omar Balad; the Minister of Information, Culture, and Tourism, Daud Aweis; and the leadership team of ATMIS.

They held key discussions with officials from the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS). They met with the State Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hirsi Gaani, and the National Security Advisor, Hussein Sheikh Ali. They also engaged with UN officials, international partners, Ambassadors from ATMIS Troop Contributing Countries, and representatives from Civil Society.

They reflected on the lessons learned from both Phase One and Two drawdowns, the forthcoming Phase Three in June 2024, which requires a further drawdown of 4,000 troops, and the subsequent phase after ATMIS ends on 31 December 2024.

For a seamless transition and to ensure there are no security gaps, Dr. Alhadji Sarjoh Bah stated that the African Union will be flexible and consider any challenges that may arise.

“We absolutely remain committed to ensuring that, number one, we stick to the timelines of the drawdown. Of course, we’ve had two extensions in the last two drawdowns. And so, except in situations of force majeure, we remain determined and resolute in ensuring that by 31st December 2024, we will have completed the drawdown,” he said.

“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. This will allow us to then determine the strength, the mandate, the posture, the composition, and the overall architecture that will replace ATMIS”, Dr. Bah noted.

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