Somalia has written to the United Nations seeking an extension of the African Union (AU) Troops' presence in the country.
Kenya being one of the nations contributing soldiers to the country, will be affected by the request if approved since it would mean the troops forfeit their initial withdrawal dates.
Somalia has requested that the soldiers remain in the country for an extra period of three months following “several significant setbacks” in the fight against Al-Shabaab as detailed in the government letter.
Somalia’s National Security adviser addressed the letter to the UN wanting a 90-day delay in the second phase of a pullout that provides for the departure of 3,000 troops.
"The Federal Government of Somalia formally requests a technical pause in the drawdown of the 3,000 African Union Transition in Somalia (ATMIS) uniformed personnel by three months," the letter read in parts.
The troops in question, are expected to have withdrawn from the country by the end of September.
Further, based on UN regulations, all ATMIS service men and women ought to have left the country by the end of 2024.
However, if Somalia’s request is granted that timeline may be pushed forward or changed significantly.
Notably, AU troops first set foot in the war-torn country in 2007 with a six-month mandate, a plan that came to nought considering there are still soldiers on the ground.
To lessen the terrorist burden on Somalia, the Somali government, AU and United States joined forces to wage a war on the Al-Qaeda affiliated group.
Nonetheless, despite the Somali Government launching a major offensive against the terrorist cell, it is still launching attacks within the country and even retaliatory attacks against Kenya.
That being said, the violence-stricken country, under the leadership of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, has made significant strides in pushing the militant group back and recovering towns and regions that were Al-Shabaab strongholds.
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