MOGADISHU, April 15 (Xinhua) -- African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) senior commanders have resolved to place emphasis on tasks that will enable the force to achieve its agenda of complete pacification of Somalia with transition plan in force.
The AU mission said in a statement issued on Sunday at the end of the meeting in Mogadishu that commanders agreed to re-examine and assess the progress made with the transition plan so far, to enable it to plan more effectively.
"The AMISOM's new mandate, requires it to facilitate a conditions based, gradual hand over of security responsibilities to the Somali security forces, without compromising gains already realized," said Charles Tai Gituai, the Deputy Force Commander in-charge of Operations and Planning.
"Our mandate is very clear, that we are here to eradicate al-Shabab, to help the Somali people to be able to live in peace; the communities to be able to start their economic activities and that is our focus," Gituai emphasized.
During the meeting, the AU mission's commanders evaluated the status of the implementation of the plan, which includes launching operations to flush out al-Shabab remnants.
They also resolved to build the capacity of the Somali security forces, to enable them to take over the security of the country, as stipulated in the country's National Security Architecture, agreed to by political leaders in April 2017.
"There is need to continually discuss in details how ready AMISOM is, in terms of manpower and logistics, in executing these tasks (training and operations), in the sectors, putting into consideration the operational readiness and the strength of Somali security forces to support the above tasks," said AMISOM Force Commander Jim Beesigye Owoyesigire.
Owoyesigire said AMISOM needs to be urgently supported with force multipliers, like attack and retreat helicopters, to conduct pre-emptive operations against al-Shabab if the transition plan is to be realistic, without losing the hard-earned gains.
The week-long meeting also discussed the operational capabilities of the Somali National Army (SNA) and sought confirmation of their resources, institutional capacity, training of additional forces.
Francisco Madeira, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission (SRCC) for Somalia and Head of AMISOM said the issue at stake is undertaking operations to disrupt, degrade and eventually destroy al-Shabab.
"This is the issue. There is no other issue. There are many things that are required but the task is to identify al-Shabab, its whereabouts, plan how to reach the enemy and destroy him," Madeira added.
He said the resolutions by the commanders will be incorporated into the AU Mission's Concept of Operations (CONOPS), which guides AMISOM's military operations.