The Force Commander of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Lt. Gen. Osman Noor Soubagleh has reiterated the Mission’s commitment to continue building the capacity of the Somali National Army (SNA), ahead of its planned exit.
Gen. Soubagleh made the remarks, on Monday, while meeting the new SNA Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Maj. Gen. Abdiweli Jama Hussein, who had paid him a courtesy call at the AMISOM Force Headquarters in Mogadishu.
Gen. Soubagleh congratulated Maj. Gen. Abdiweli upon his appointment as CDF and hailed the cordial working relations existing between AMISOM and SNA, in the effort to rid the country of Al-Shabaab and restore peace and stability to the Horn of Africa country.
“Your appointment comes at a time when the focus is on beginning the exit of AMISOM from Somalia and handover to the Somali National Security Forces. As AMISOM we remain committed to supporting the Somali National Army whenever needed, within the available means to ensure a smooth transition,” he stated and pledged to continue fostering the good working relations.
Gen. Soubagleh noted that both AMISOM and SNA have a common enemy, the Al-Shabaab militants, who are linked to the recent bomb attack that killed more than 300 people.
For his part, Maj. Gen. Abdiweli, who was accompanied by senior SNA officers, paid tribute to AMISOM for the sacrifices made by the various Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) and pledged to work closely with AMISOM to build the capacity of the SNA, to enable it take over the security responsibilities of the country.
“As time approaches for AMISOM to exit, we will continue to work hard together with AMISOM so that the SNA can assume responsibility for the security of the country and we will say thank you,” he stated, while stressing the need to eradicate Al-Shabaab to pave way for a smooth AMISOM exit.
Maj. Gen. Abdiweli was appointed CDF mid this month, following the resignation of his predecessor Ahmed Jimale Irfiid, together with the defence minister Rashid Abdullahi Mohamed, earlier in the month.
As part of its exit strategy, AMISOM will reduce its troops by 1000 by December, followed by further cuts next year.
However, AMISOM’s exit is also pegged on the ability of the Somali National Security Forces, particularly the SNA to ably take over the security of the country.