MOGADISHU, Somalia (Caasimada Online) – Somalia’s federal and regional leaders recently reached an agreement to bolster the country’s national security.
The new “National Security Architecture” outlines plans for expanding the armed forces and police personnel to address the impending departure of African Union forces by the end of next year.
Under the newly signed agreement, the number of national armed forces will be increased to at least 30,000 soldiers, while the police force will consist of at least 40,000 personnel, according to documents obtained by Caasimada Online.
This revision updates a 2017 deal requiring a minimum of 18,000 military and 32,000 police personnel.
National Security Advisor Kamal Dahir Hassan Gutale said the Somali government is currently focused on transferring security responsibilities from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), which has been in the country for over 15 years.
The goal is for the last AU soldier to leave Somalia by December 2024, allowing the nation to meet its security responsibilities.
Adjustments to security forces structure
The agreement, signed by Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre and federal member state leaders, stipulates that the new armed forces numbers do not include the navy, air force, and special commando units trained by the United States and Turkey.
The minimum age for army registration will be 18, and the retirement age will be raised to 62.
The National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) will maintain special armed agents until the current security conditions improve.
Federal member states, which currently operate their own intelligence agencies and armed agents, will discontinue these agencies once stability is achieved.
Additionally, the agreement calls for a custodial corps of 5,300 personnel, including 4,500 federal and 800 correctional officers.
Puntland’s position and upcoming operations
The leaders of the Puntland semi-autonomous region were absent from the recent meeting in Baidoa.
In January, these leaders expressed their intention to manage their own affairs akin to an “independent government” until the completion of the federal constitution.
As the Somali government moves forward with its new security plans, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud recently attended the graduation of newly trained soldiers in Uganda.
In January, National Security Advisor Hussein Sheikh-Ali confirmed that the Somali government is currently training 3,000 soldiers in Uganda, with plans for troops from neighboring countries to join the upcoming military operations against al-Shabab.
Gutale revealed that an extensive offensive is set to begin during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, commencing this Wednesday, expressing optimism for a significant victory by Somali forces.
“God willing, we hope Somali forces will achieve [a] big victory,” he stated.