Concept of Operations for AU to exit Somalia on the table


AMISOM, the AU Mission in Somalia, has developed a Concept of Operations (CONOPS) document to guide it over the next three years as the final phase ahead of exit from the east African country.

According to an AU statement, the “action oriented document”, once approved by the AU and senior defence officials from troop contributing countries, is another milestone in the quest for “a peaceful and democratic Somalia”.

Francisco Madeira, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, said in Nairobi the CONOPS document was one which will deliver.
“We want a document that is workable, a document in position to produce the expected results and we are optimistic we will do it,” Madeira, who is also head of mission, said at the conclusion of the CONOPS workshop in the Kenyan city.

The CONOPS 2018 workshop looked at the AMISOM Somalia transition plan as regards the political and security situation in the country emerging from decades of civil strife.

Participants included AMISOM staff, officials of the Somalia government and AU representatives.

The document is AMISOM’s intent regarding plans and aspirations to culminate in scheduled 2021 one-man-one vote elections and the subsequent, gradual transfer of security responsibilities to Somali security forces.
“This is an important undertaking marking a crucial step at a crucial moment we find ourselves in our efforts in Somalia,” Madeira said, adding the document was a product of “hard work and open and frank discussions”.

The workshop looked at AMISOM’s military component and analysed the way it is working towards delivering a “safe” Somalia to its people.

Resolving the problem in Somalia, the SRCC noted, requires more than a military approach and AMISOM is towing that line.
“Security is not just a matter of shooting Al-Shabaab but also a matter of extending our hands to elements of Al-Shabaab who for whatever reason slid into violence and extremism and now are willing to abandon that path,” Madeira said.

The SRCC exhorted AMISOM partners, troop and police contributing countries and all Somalis to “put our hands together” to ensure peace and security is returned in the country.

The representative of the Kenyan government told participants an all-inclusive engagement was key to the Somalia peace effort. This needed all stakeholders to understand the dynamics facing Somalia and the change the country deserves.

Once adapted, CONOPS 2018 “will guide the collective actions of the international community to augment activities of the Federal Government of Somalia towards the achievement of (the country’s) transitional plan”.

Major General Adan Mulata reiterated Kenya’s commitment to the African Union and AMISOM in achieving lasting peace and stability in Somalia. “We shouldn’t think twice, we shouldn’t blink” in helping Somalia, he added.

As regards the planned military drawdown, the Kenya military chief said exit was inevitable but stakeholders should be cautious, taking into consideration conditions on the ground.
“Let us talk about meaningful change in Somalia not blame games and fault-finding,” Mulata said adding there has to be common objective, collective effort and clarity in order to rebuild Somalia.