AMISOM, SNA military commanders meet over transition to new mission

Top African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Federal Government of Somalia officials are meeting in Mogadishu over the next five days to discuss modalities ahead of the new AU peace support operation in Somalia.

Effective April 1, AMISOM, which has operated in Somalia since 2007, will be replaced by a new mission to be called the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). The Mogadishu conference seeks to agree on various approaches to aid the transition, as well as discuss operational plans for the new mission.

Known internally as the Sector Commanders’ Conference (SCC), the meeting mainly between AMISOM and the Somali National Army (SNA) commanders plans security priorities for the mission.   

On the theme, “Joint Planning and Coordination for Effective and Timely Transition from AMISOM to ATMIS”, the meeting, which kicked off on Monday, has in attendance representatives from the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), military commanders from the Somali National Army (SNA) and AMISOM, as well as officials from the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), the UK Mission Support Team, and several of Somalia’s international partners.

“This conference, being the last under the AMISOM mandate, will mark an important milestone in the roadmap towards peace and stability in Somalia as AMISOM transits to ATMIS, which will ultimately handover full security responsibilities to Somali security forces by the end of 2024,” said Ambassador Francisco Madeira, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, when he officially opened the conference.

Ambassador Madeira reiterated the need for the key players to work collaboratively to effectively implement the new mission’s Concept of Operations (CONOPS 2022-2024), which, together with the revised Somalia Transition Plan, will aid the attainment of the new mission’s mandate by the end of 2024. 

“In line with the operationalization of the Concept of Operations and the implementation of the revised Somalia Transition Plan 2021, the Sector Commanders’ Conference is a springboard of transition to a series of security activities that will see Somalia regain its glory,” said Ambassador Madeira.

The Somali Transition Plan was first agreed upon in December 2017 between the Federal Government of Somalia and the international community, and it details guidelines aimed at enabling Somalia assume full responsibility for its security.

Speaking at the meeting’s opening ceremony, Yasmin Ahmed, Legal Advisor in the office of the Somali president, commended AMISOM for its contribution in reducing the threat caused by the Al-Shabaab terrorists over the years, and for supporting the ongoing transition to ATMIS as the country continues to implement the vision stipulated in the STP.

“As Somalia enters a new era of responsibility, we are preparing to take on the challenges we face with a renewed sense of hope. In this regard, the Federal Government of Somalia has commenced revising the Somalia Transition Plan to ensure that our vision, strategic objectives and key priorities are aligned with the transnational threats of terrorism. The revised STP, along with the joint AU-Federal Government of Somalia Concept of Operations, paves the way for the Somali security forces to lead more offensive operations that are built around agile, mobile and resilient forces,” said Yasmin.

The SNA Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), General Odowa Yusuf Rage, said immense work had been put into the transition process, and called for concerted efforts from all the key players to ensure a smooth transition to ATMIS and the eventual achievement of its mandate.

“A lot of work has gone into the formulation of the documents that will guide the new mission. We understand the importance of the implementation of the new mission and its tasks. The realization of the new mission requires full cooperation and commitment from both the Somali security forces, as well as the future ATMIS. I urge all of us to commit towards the fulfilment of the mission’s mandate,” said the CDF.

It is expected that at the end of the conference on Friday, participants will have enriched the CONOPS by agreeing on realistic modalities for the handover and takeover of AMISOM Forward Operating Bases in order to create mobile forces under ATMIS.

It is expected that at the end of the conference on Friday, 18th March 2022, the key stakeholders would have agreed on realistic modalities for the handover and takeover of AMISOM Forward Operating Bases in order to create, among other priorities, mobile forces under ATMIS.