Senior military officers from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) are meeting in Mogadishu to review security operations in the Horn of Africa country, ahead of an upcoming Concept of Operations (CONOPs) conference, to be held later this month. The CONOPs guides all AMISOM’s military operations.
The meeting, will explore ways of enhancing the Mission’s operations during the transition period, as it prepares to hand over the national security responsibility to the Somali security forces.
Resolutions from the pre-CONOPs review meeting will form part of the agenda of the actual conference, due later in the month.
“This conference provides us with the opportunity to articulate and argue out our ideas and compare our thoughts with a view to harmonize our positions before the main CONOPs conference due later this month,” AMISOM Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Jim Beesigye Owoyesigire, said on Friday, during the official opening of the meeting.
Gen. Owoyesigire noted that the meeting is taking place at crucial moment, when AMISOM is implementing a transition plan, which had been discussed and agreed upon by the AU Mission, the UN, the Federal Government of Somalia and development partners.
“This is a unique opportunity for us to come together to discuss and analyze what is going on in the field and we thank you, for the good work you have been doing in the field,” the Force Commander told the military Commanders from all the sectorized regions under AMISOM.
He noted that despite operating in an extremely difficult and challenging environment, the officers have managed to carry out regular operations against Al-Shabaab and liberated more areas from militants’ control.
The Force Commander’s sentiments were echoed by the African Union Special Representative for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, who reiterated the Mission’s commitment to implementing the Transition Plan.
Ambassador Madeira urged the sector commanders to come up with robust, effective and realistic plans, that would completely neutralise and degrade AlShabaab.
“The meeting is for you to share not only what you can realistically deliver; but also, how we will deliver what is expected of us,” Madeira said.
As part of the implementation of the Transition Plan, the Head of AMISOM noted, that the AU Mission has been tasked to secure remaining few areas under Al-Shabaab, including Main Supply Routes.
He said the task had necessitated the AU Mission to reconfigure itself, so as to continue being effective in pursuit of its mandate.
“The only way to transition is to strengthen security and have the capacity of the Somalis elevated to acceptable level, then handover the security responsibility before exiting,” he observed.