BFF-76 UN delays drawdown of Somalia peacekeeping force

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UN delays drawdown of Somalia peacekeeping force

UNITED NATIONS, United States, July 30, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – The UN Security
Council on Monday delayed a plan to draw down the peacekeeping mission in
Somalia after finding that Somali security forces were not sufficiently
trained to take over from the exiting forces.

Some 1,000 troops in the 20,000-strong African Union Mission in Somalia
(AMISOM) were scheduled to leave by the end of October, but the council
unanimously adopted a resolution postponing their departure to the end of
February.

Deployed in 2007 to shore up the Somali government in its battle with
Islamist militias, AMISOM operates under a Security Council mandate and
receives funding from the United Nations and the European Union.

In a letter to the council, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said
plans to cut AMISOM troops “were not realistic”, noting that Somalia suffered
the worst terror attack of its history in October last year.

More than 500 people were killed in central Mogadishu in a truck bombing
attributed to Al-Shabaab.

The council extended its authorisation of the AMISOM mission until May
31 2019 and declared that there would be no further delays in the drawdown
beyond February of next year.

The British-drafted resolution said Somali security forces should be
built up “with the aim of Somali security institutions taking the lead by
December 2021.”

Somalia is scheduled to hold elections in 2021 during which its national
forces will be tasked with ensuring security.

Al-Shabaab is fighting to overthrow the internationally backed government
in Mogadishu, but has also carried out attacks in neighbouring Kenya, which
has deployed troops as part of AMISOM.

BSS/AFP/RY/22:02 hrs