Mohamud Sayid Aden, Jubaland Vice President (VP), advocates for extending the drawdown of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) troops to the end of 2025. Mr Mohamud supports the Somali government’s recent request to postpone the Phase II drawdown for three months. However, he suggested an even longer timeline, proposing rescheduling the withdrawal to December 2025 instead of December 2024.
In a recent interview with the Voice of America (VOA), Vice President Mohamud highlighted Somalia’s challenges and emphasized the significant preparations al-Shabaab has been able to make. According to Mohamud, the extremist group accumulated wealth and enhanced its ability to influence and manipulate the people living in areas under the group’s control.
Vice President Mohamud previously expressed concerns regarding the ATMIS withdrawal, which he called ‘ill-conceived’. He reminded the public of the criticism he faced from those who believed the withdrawal timeline was adequate.
Three months postponement ‘not enough’
While endorsing the postponement of the drawdown, Vice President Mohamud argues that three months would not be sufficient. Instead, he advocates for a comprehensive review of the Somali army’s readiness to take over security operations. He emphasizes the importance of assessing the army’s capabilities and equipment while defining the shared responsibilities between the federal and regional governments.
The Vice President also calls for creating a well-defined plan and timeline. The central government should build this plan in close cooperation with the troop-contributing countries (TCCs) and the international community.
Considering the current circumstances, Vice President Mohamud proposed December 2025 as a more realistic timeline for the ATMIS withdrawal. He emphasized the need for decisive action by the Somali people and leaders. Moreover, he urged unity and support for the efforts of the President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, in combating al-Shabaab. He warned against politicizing the security situation and emphasized the need for political stability to effectively address the threat.
Withdrawal timeline not feasible
Vice President Mohamud’s viewpoint resonates with growing concerns among those who believe that the original withdrawal timeline may not be feasible in the face of the prevailing challenges. As 2024 approaches, the Somali government may need to consider requesting the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to revise the withdrawal resolution. Otherwise, the government must proceed cautiously, focusing on troop regeneration and avoiding operations in areas it cannot effectively secure against al-Shabaab’s counteroffensives.