UN reauthorizes African Union Mission in Somalia until July

The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday unanimously reauthorized until July 31 the African Union Mission in Somalia to give additional time for consideration of an upcoming report.

With 22,126 personnel currently deployed, AMISOM operates with the approval of the United Nations and relies on international funding.

The mission was launched in 2007 to defend the internationally-backed government against attacks by al-Shabaab, the Somali-led al-Qaeda affiliate.

By extending AMISOM’s mandate to the end of July, the Security Council allowed for a review of recommendations expected in a “joint assessment” report on Somalia to be presented by June 15.

In its resolution, the Security Council recalled that it authorized the African Union to reduce by October 30 AMISOM’s uniformed personnel to 20,626 – to include a minimum of 1,040 police personnel.

The Security Council also agreed continued U.N. logistical support for AMISOM and 70 civilian personnel, the 10,900 Somalia National Army personnel in joint operations with AMISOM, and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). In March, the Security Council extended UNSOM’s mandate until March 2019.

In a Tuesday briefing to the Security Council, Michael Keating, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, said AMISOM “continues to play an indispensable role, at great human cost, in protecting population centres, main supply routes and Somalia’s overall political progress.”

Keating said that successful security transition will require deep reform of the Somalia security forces together transformation of AMISOM,” adding that this could entail “more flexible joint operations and combat mentoring, greater emphasis on policing, adequate enablers and force multipliers or stronger accountability systems, whether for assets or relating to human rights.”