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AU, UN to Maintain “Lean” Multi-National Force in Somalia, President’s Security Advisor says

Storyline:National News, Security

GOOBJOOG NEWS | MOGADISHU: The African Union and the United Nations has said it will retain a small number of troops who will be tasked with safeguarding key infrastructure in Somalia.

According to the National Security Advisor to the president Hussein Sheikh-Ali, the proposed “multi-national” forces will operate in Somalia after African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) forces leave the country by the end of the year.

“The discussions are still going on but the African Union and the United Nations have agreed to maintain a lean multinational force in the country as from January next year. The mandate of the new forces will be to protect key infrastructure within Somalia, and areas where Somali security forces would use as logistical hubs and also where international agencies and foreign embassies are based,” Mr. Sheikh-Ali said while speaking to journalists in Mogadishu.

The president’s Security Advisor further said that the new force will be estimated to number between 3000 and 8000 troops and that they will closely work with the National Forces who will gradually take over the security responsibilities from the Multinational troops.

“The new multi-national force is estimated to be between 3000 and 8000, and they will work closely with an equal number of Somali forces so that gradually Somali security forces will take over from them within 12 months. The 12-month presence of the new forces in the country is “extendable,” he said.

The Federal Government has ramped up efforts to train and equip the National Security Forces to take over security responsibilities in the country as the ATMIS forces continue to withdraw from the country as mandated by UN Security Council Resolutions 2687 and 2670.

Somalia’s capabilities to independently continue the fight against the Al-Shabaab militants was boosted in December when the United Nation’s Security Council unanimously voted to remove the final restrictions on weapons deliveries to Somalia’s government and its security forces, more than 30 years after an arms embargo was first imposed on the country.

The council put the embargo on Somalia in 1992 to cut the flow of weapons to feuding warlords, who had ousted dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and plunged the Horn of Africa country into civil war.