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AU troops start Somalia exit in December

Amisom soldiers from Burundi in Mogadishu on July 11, 2017. AFP PHOTO | MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB
Amisom soldiers from Burundi in Mogadishu on July 11, 2017. AFP PHOTO | MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB 

The African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) will start withdrawing troops from Somalia in December, official said.

The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Mr Francisco Madeira, stated that the number of the peacekeepers would be reduced gradually from end of December.

He indicated that the initiative would continue till end of 2020, anticipating the building of the Somali National Army to assume the country’s security responsibilities.

Mr Madeira further said that the troops' withdrawal would be accompanied by movement of the AU forces in parts of the country.

Al-Shabaab

“Troop movements shouldn't cause alarm,” said Mr Madeira.

"This is a process of realignment to effect the reduction in numbers and also begin the handover process of national security responsibilities to the Somali national security forces,” he added.

The first units of Amisom peacekeepers were deployed in 2007 from Uganda. Since then, the number has increased to 22,000-strong force, helping Somalia to ward off the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab militants.

The other Amisom troops contributing countries are Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

However, the US military is reportedly concerned about the capacity of Somalia's security forces.

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