The African Union peacekeeping mission will withdraw 3,000 more troops from Somalia, its commander said on Tuesday.
“Preparations for the second phase of the withdrawal of 3,000 ATMIS (African Union Transition Mission in Somalia) troops by the end of September are underway,” Lt. Gen. Sam Okiding told journalists in the Somali capital Mogadishu.
The first batch of 2,000 peacekeeping troops left the country earlier this year as part of the Somalia Transition Plan (STP), a guide developed by the Somalia government and its partners to transfer security responsibility to Somali armed forces.
Okiding said ATMIS would continue working closely with the Somali government, the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) and other partners to ensure a smooth transfer of security responsibilities to Somali Security Forces.
“ATMIS would put in place measures to avoid a security vacuum when it exits Somalia by the end of December 2024”, he added.
The African Union Mission in Somalia, previously known as AMISOM and currently ATMIS, is a multidimensional mission authorized by the African Union and mandated by the UN Security Council to operate in the Horn of Africa nation since 2007.
The mission aims to assist the Somali government in its war against the al-Shabaab terror group.
The terror group has increased their attacks since Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who was elected for a second term last year, declared an “all-out war” on al-Shabaab.