The first batch of 1,000 troops operating under the African Union Mission in Somalia have left Mogadishu but the country still faces challenges in transitioning from the multinational force to the local one.
Special Representative of the chairperson of the African Union Commission Francisco Madeira said the transitional government of Somalia has been progressively taking over Amisom’s roles in a gradual exit plan to end in 2020.
Mr Madeira said the new government has been ensuring its national security forces are trained to protect the country as another 1,000 troops get ready to leave next year.
Somalia’s soldiers are being trained by the European Union (EU), Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
But Mr Madeira pointed that the training is uncoordinated and needs harmonisation.
“The integration of the Somali National Army needs to happen with urgency. The training of the army must be synchronised and centred upon a common doctrine and ideology.
“Amisom and the federal government continue with deliberations on the drawdown of troops.
“During the transition period, the two will cooperate in joint operations by degrading Al-Shabaab to allow the opening of the main supply routes and movement of persons,” he said.
He spoke at a briefing in Nairobi last week.
Last year, the African Union’s Peace and Security Council announced an exit strategy that would see some 22,000 troops withdraw and hand over control of security to the national army.
Previously, Amisom trained 10,900 Somali soldiers, with an additional 20,000 troops coming as the mission prepares to exit.
The troops were deployed to Somalia in 2007 to defend the government against the Al-Qaeda-affiliated insurgent group Al-Shabaab.