Earlier today, Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud embarked on a working trip to Eritrea, strengthening security ties between the two countries and visiting the Somali troops undergoing training there.
An official statement by Villa Somalia announced that the President’s visit to Eritrea will focus on promoting defence and security cooperation between the two countries to enhance regional security. Part of this cooperation includes training special units of the Somali National Army (SNA) by the Republic of Eritrea.
During the President’s absence from the Galmudug frontline, Galmudug’s President, Ahmed Abdi Kariye ‘Qoorqoor’, will assume responsibility for the ongoing operations in the region. Hassan Sheikh will resume leading the efforts against al-Shabaab upon his return.
Trip to Djibouti
Hassan Sheikh already travelled to Djibouti two weeks ago. Djibouti is one of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia’s (ATMIS) troop-contributing countries. It has been a steadfast partner in Somalia’s counterterrorism efforts, playing a pivotal role in Somalia’s security landscape.
The primary agenda of discussions between Hassan Sheikh and his Djiboutian counterpart, President Ismail Omar Guelleh, revolved around Somalia’s request for the three-month postponement in the Djiboutian troops serving under ATMIS drawdown. However, ATMIS’ withdrawal has been a contentious issue.
Resource mobilisation needed
On 30 September, the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) convened its 1177th meeting. The meeting deliberated on the Somali government’s request for the 3,000 ATMIS personnel drawdown pause. It brought to the fore several concerns, including the lack of resources.
The PSC noted that potential shortfalls in financial resources could impede the actualisation of this three-month pause. The council provided directives to the AU Commission to explore multiple avenues of resource mobilisation. This includes engaging with the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) to mobilise internal resources. Further avenues ranged from engagement with bilateral and multilateral partners to exploring options with the private sector and the African members of the UN Security Council.