On Saturday, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) celebrated a year of service in Somalia with a renewed commitment to enhancing cooperation and creating partnerships to improve the country’s peace and security.
An overview of the situation in the ATMIS Areas of Responsibility over the past year shows a decrease in al-Shabab activities, with the security situation remaining relatively calm across the country, according to Mohammed El-Amine Souef, special representative of the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission for Somalia and head of ATMIS.
“But, we cannot afford to relax our guard since the Khawarij (al-Shabab) continue to pose the greatest threat to Somalia’s peace and stability,” Souef said at a press conference in Mogadishu on Saturday evening.
The AU, in collaboration with the Somali government, reorganized the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) into ATMIS. ATMIS started operational on April 1, 2022, effectively replacing AMISOM, and will strive to prepare Somali security forces to take over responsibility for security in the country by 2024.
According to Souef, the transition, which entails transferring security responsibility to Somali security personnel, is already beginning.
He stated that ATMIS has carried out its mandate over the previous year with the assistance of foreign partners, who he believes deserve special attention for the commitment and support they continue to provide the Mission.
“In this context, I would want to reaffirm ATMIS’s support to the federal government and the good people of Somalia, and to express our solidarity with the communities suffering from droughts and floods, as well as those displaced by wars,” Souef stated.
He also paid respect to the countries that contribute troops and police, whose men and women have paid the ultimate price in the pursuit of peace in Somalia.
Al-Shabab extremists have resorted to asymmetric warfare against civilians and security forces out of cowardice, he said, adding that the ongoing military onslaught by ATMIS forces and the Somali National Army will succeed, and the terrorists would soon have nowhere to hide.
“We urge all peace-loving Somalis to continue collaborating with security forces to assist the country in achieving long-term peace and stability,” Souef said.