UN votes to cut 1,000 troops from AU force in Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia, – The United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously on Friday to draw down 1,000 troops from African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia.

The Security Council’s decision comes, amid rising deadly attacks by al Qaeda linked Al Shabaab in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

The resolution put forward by Britain reduces African Union mission known as ‘AMISOM’ troops by 1,000 to a ceiling of 19,626 by February 28.

The African Union force will gradually hand over security to Somali forces under a transition plan agreed in 2017.

The mission asked for an extension as Somalia heads to presidential elections leadership in 2021.

Somalia’s militant Al Shabaab remains relatively undiminished, despite a 12-year UN-backed campaign against group’s militants.

The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabaab killed dozens, mostly civilians in similar deadly suicide attacks on hotels, popular eateries and other public gatherings in the capital of Mogadishu.

The rebel group was pushed out of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, in 2011 after a joint offensive carried out by Somalia and African Union troops.

The militants continue to hold small rural areas in central and southern Somalia.

The group wants to overthrow the weak UN-backed government in Somalia and impose its own strict interpretation of Islamic law.

It has lost control of many towns and cities to a 22,000-strong African Union force supporting the government of Somalia.

Abdi Aziz Hassan Ibrahim is , a somali veteran journalist based in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Twitter @mareegonline Email: news@mareeg.com