The troop-contributing countries to peacekeepers in Somalia now want the United Nations Security Council to reconsider its resolution on phased withdrawal issued last September.
The countries — Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia and Djibouti — are concerned that the Council’s resolution that called for withdrawal and gradual handover of security responsibilities to the Somali security forces, is not realistic and would lead to a reversal of the gains made by the peacekeepers.
The Summit of troop-contributing countries (TCCs) held in Kampala, Uganda a week ago, decided that while the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) has recovered 80 per cent of Somalia in collaboration with the Somalia National Army (SNA), the situation remains fragile and Al Shabaab is likely to bounce back if the resolution is implemented.
Monica Juma, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, said the TCCs and the Somalia government will petition the UN Security Council to reconsider the resolution.
“The stability and development of Somalia is key for Kenya’s and the region prosperity. This explains why Kenya remains a strong voice for Somalia in the international system. This is a role we shall continue to take in order to mobilise the international community to help Somalia back on its feet, to free it from terrorists and set it on a path of development and prosperity,” said Dr Juma.
Due to irregular funding from various stakeholders in the Somalia peace process, the Security Council Resolution 2372 issued last year had instructed Igad to reduce its uniformed personnel by 1,040 from all the five TCCs to a maximum 21,626, down from the previous 22,126 troops.
A further reduction to 20,626 uniformed personnel are supposed to be effected by end of October, unless the Council decides to accelerate that pace, taking into account the capabilities of Somali security forces.
A full pull-out was set for 2020. But the Kampala Summit decided that the withdrawal as directed by the UN Security Council undermined the capacity of Amisom to deliver its mandate.
Instead, the Summit urged the UN Security Council to restore the previous troop levels and stay any further reduction of Amisom troops to allow; recovery of territory still under the control of Al Shabaab and other terrorist groups.
The United States had also opposed further withdrawal beyond the 1,040 that were withdrawn in December last year.