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Amisom withdrawal in 2018 is a recipe for disaster, Somalia tells the UNSC

Storyline:National News
UN ambassador to Somalia Abukar Osman addressing the UN Security Council Sept 15, 2017. Photo: UN

The planned withdrawal of Amisom forces from Somalia mid next year will spell doom to the country’s security and gains made thus far, Somalia has told the UN Security Council calling for sustained funding of the African Union force.

Somalia’s ambassador Abukar Dahir Osman told the Security Council Friday withdrawal of Amisom is premature adding Somali Security Forces do not have the sufficient capacity to take over from the foreign troops who have been in Somalia for the last ten years.

“The SNA/SNSF is not ready to take over security responsibilities of Somalia and the premature withdrawal of AMISOM in May 2018 is a recipe for disaster. It is crucial that AMISOM is provided with predictable and sustainable funding beyond 31st May 2018,” said Osman.

The Military Operations Coordination Committee (MOCC) for Amisom in its meeting in Addis Ababa early this month said Amisom will not be able to continue its operations beyond 31 May 2018 unless sustainable funding is assured. UN chief in Somalia Michael Keating addressing the Council also reiterated the need for predictable funding of Amisom.

Ambassador Osman also reinforced Somalia’s call for lifting of the arms embargo noting the continued arms import restrictions made it difficult for Somali security forces to take over the mantle from Amisom.

“The time has come for Somalia to be able to get access to qualitatively better weapons than terrorists. In this regard, we are asking this body (UNSC) to consider and develop a clearly defined roadmap to the full lifting of the arms embargo.”

Osman noted the roadmap will include improvements we must make to our weapons management, command, and control systems.

“Without AMISOM forces, who are supplied with heavy weaponry,” the ambassador said, ‘we would not have been able to defeat Al-Shabaab. The long-standing arms embargo on Somalia severely restricts our ability to procure heavy weapons, despite the partial lifting of the embargo in

President Farmaajo added his voice for the arms embargo last week during a visit to a military camp in Mogadishu observing the restrictions were adversely inhibiting the performance of the military.

International partners are expected to meet next month following recommendations of the May London Conference to make commitments to finance the National Security Architecture.