Somalia Begs UN To Delay Withdrawal Of AU Forces

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Somalia is seeking a delay in the withdrawal of African Union peacekeeping forces in the country.

The country has asked the UN to delay by three months the next phase of departure of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) troops.

“Somalia formally requests a technical pause in the drawdown of the 3,000 ATMIS uniformed personnel by three months,” the AFP news agency quotes a letter written to the UN by Somalia’s national security adviser Hussein Sheikh-Ali as saying.

A total of 3,000 troops of the 17,000-strong force were due to leave by the end of the month in the second phase of the withdrawal.

But the Somali government, which is currently waging a war against al-Shabab militants says it is facing “significant setbacks”.

Resolutions passed by the UN have called for the complete withdrawal of the ATMIS force by the end of next year and fully hand over the responsibility of maintaining security to Somali national forces.

The force began the gradual drawdown of its troops in June.