UN Security Council creates new peacekeeping force against Al-Shabaab

by time news

The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Thursday to create a new peacekeeping force in Somalia led by the African Union, with the mission of fighting until the end of 2024 against the jihadists of the shebab.

This force, called Atmis, will succeed the current Amisom (African Union Mission in Somalia) and will see its workforce of nearly 20,000 soldiers, police and civilians gradually reduced to zero on December 31, 2024.

Following a unanimous vote of its 15 member states and “after many months of constructive exchanges, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution which (…) reconfigures Amisom. is now the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (Atmis)”, announced the United Arab Emirates, which chaired the Council in March.

In the midst of a diplomatic crisis at the UN with Russia, in relation to the war in Ukraine, the United States welcomed this “rare opportunity for the Council to contribute to configuring the transition from a mission” to maintain peace.

– An “international” force –

Their deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Mills, praised “the efforts of the Somali federal government, the African Union and other stakeholders” in the dossier concerning the armed conflict in the East African country.

The American diplomat recalled that the jihadists of the Shebab “represented for Somalia and more broadly for East Africa a formidable threat, capable of adapting”.

And that an “Africa-led” international force, such as the Atmis, was needed to counter “the largest and best-funded al-Qaeda affiliate.”

The mandate of Amisom, a force created in 2007, expired on March 31 and the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had recommended at the beginning of the month to maintain until December 31 the current workforce, of exactly 19,626 soldiers, police and civilians.

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According to the resolution voted on Thursday, the Atmis staff reduction plan will be carried out in four phases until the departure of all staff at the end of 2024.

– “Zero headcount” at the end of 2024 –

A first reduction of 2,000 soldiers must take place by December 31, 2022, then several reductions at the end of each stage – March 2023, September 2023, June 2024 then “zero strength” at the end of December 2024 -, according to the text of the resolution.

Somalia, and particularly its capital Mogadishu, have been the scene of multiple attacks in recent weeks, including two that occurred last week in the center of the country, claimed by the Islamists of Shebab and which killed at least 48 people.

This country has also been waiting for more than a year for the election of a new parliament and a new president. The mandate of the current Head of State Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known as Farmajo, expired in February 2021 without his having managed to organize a ballot.

Since then, the process has progressed painfully, delayed by conflicts at the top of the executive and between the central government and certain states of the country.

After many postponements, the closing of the lower house elections has been set for this Thursday, March 31. This step should open a new phase leading to the appointment of a new head of state.

These repeated delays worry the international community, which believes that they divert the attention of the authorities from crucial issues for the country, first and foremost the Shebab insurrection.

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