The UN Security Council unanimously approved (March31st) Resolution 2628, in a session presided over by the United Arab Emirates. The Resolution sanctions the transformation of AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia) into ATMIS (African Union Transitional Mission in Somalia). This result, advocated by the Secretary General Guterres, saw the convergence also of Russia – not to be taken for granted in this phase of strong international contrast. All UN Member States are urged to contribute to ATMIS’s costs and logistical needs, which from the outset seem to be a major obstacle to the smooth running of the Mission.
African Union Member States will deploy up to 19,626 military, law enforcement (at least 1,040) and civilian personnel to Somalia. Starting from the January 1st, a reduction will be implemented – of a quota of 2,000 units, or about 10% – to be completed in the first quarter, with further reductions in 2023 and 2024.
The end of operations is planned for December 31st, 2024. This is due to the improvements already noticeable in security threats. On the one hand, it remains necessary to ensure that Al-Shabaab and the formations linked to the Islamic State are countered “with all means”. On the other, it is reiterated that the Mission aims at a gradual transition of responsibility for security matters on to the Somali Authorities, as already in the 2018 Somalia Transition Plan (STP). This includes support for the political process, both local and national, which should be completed as soon as possible and in a peaceful manner.
In any case, the end of nominations for the Lower House, scheduled for March 31st, has been postponed. There are still six seats to be filled for HirShabelle and 16 for Jubaland. These MPs are likely to be elected by April 14th, the date of the scheduled swearing in of Parliament in Mogadishu.
The Permanent Representative of Somalia to the United Nations, Ambassador Dahir Osman, however, regretted the rejection of the Somali proposals on the command and control of ATMIS and on the strengthened civilian component as well as on logistics to support the Somali Security Forces. There will be no unified command within a single HQ, nor the required quota of at least 30% Somali citizens in the civilian component of the Mission, nor will UNSOS (UN Support Mission in Somalia) be able to meet the level of operational needs, although renewed.
This suggests that the relationship between the Somali Federal Authorities and ATMIS will not differ much – especially in the initial phases – from what has been observed so far with AMISOM. ATMIS will pay more attention to political dynamics, but the idea of its transience made now so clear is also an incentive to resist to the Mission as much as possible. Inevitable, therefore, will be the negative repercussions also in the fight against terrorism and criminal networks that are still active especially in the interior of the country.
Al Shabaab terrorists have been responsible for new significant events, such as the attack on a base of local forces in Puntland and those on an Ethiopian convoy near Baidoa and Kenyan bases in Lower Juba and across the border in Mandera in Kenya. Emergency security measures were implemented at the Halane base in the Mogadishu airport, where there had been speculation of further imminent attacks. Ethiopia and Kenya have concluded a regional security agreement in Nairobi, which foresees the creation of an East Africa Standby Force (EASF) to counter both security threats and internal drifts.