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UN authorises new AU mission in Somalia to dislodge armed groups

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Somalia has begun to find its footing after three decades of chaos unleashed by strongmen and various armed groups.

The United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously to endorse the African Union’s new transitional mission in Somalia and authorised it to take action against al-Qaeda and armed groups allied to the ISIL (ISIS), as well as to conduct a phased handover of security responsibilities to Somalia’s government.

Thursday’s vote replaces the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which has been in the Horn of Africa nation for 15 years trying to build lasting peace and security, with the AU Transitional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).

The resolution adopted by the council recognises significant changes in the security situation since it authorised AMISOM in February 2007 and improvements in Somalia’s capability to respond to security challenges, but also reaffirms “the need to combat terrorist threats by all means”.

In recent years, Somalia has begun to find its footing after three decades of chaos from strongmen to the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group and the emergence of ISIL-linked armed groups.

Last year, a political crisis further postponed long-delayed parliamentary elections which were to be completed on March 15 are still not complete, further delaying the vote for a new president.

The British-drafted resolution authorises the new ATMIS mission to support the Somali forces “in providing security for the political process at all levels”.

The Security Council underscored that completing the electoral process without further delay and achieving “a peaceful transition of power” will help Somalia move ahead with its national priorities and support its 2021 transition plan which outlines steps towards the gradual handover of responsibilities for security from international forces to the government.

The council reiterated its objective “of enabling Somalia to take full responsibility for its own security, including through assuming the leading role in countering and addressing the threat posed by al-Shabab”.

The council authorised AU member nations to deploy up to 19,626 uniformed personnel, including a minimum of 1,040 police, until December 31. It also endorsed the AU Peace and Security Council’s decision to reduce the peacekeeping forces’ numbers by 2,000 by that date

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