The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said it is expected to draw down soldiers by 1,000 this month in Somalia’s HirShabelle State, where Burundi troops operating under AMISOM now have their main base in Jowhar, the capital of HirShabelle.

According to a statement issued by AMISOM on Sunday, Francisco Madeira, head of AMISOM, held talks with HirShabelle State president Mohamed Abdi Waare on the planned cutback in troops from Burundi on Saturday evening.

“We have been discussing with President Waare on how we can implement the transition plan in a manner that still ensures security in his state,” Madeira said in the statement.

According to a United Nations Security Council resolution in July 2018, AMISOM will need to reduce the level of uniformed personnel to 20,626 by Feb. 28, 2019, without “any further delay.” “The transition plan is finally becoming a reality and there are painful decisions that have to be taken,” Waare said in the statement.

He expressed concern that if hurriedly implemented, the troops’ drawdown would leave his state vulnerable to attacks. Waare said there is still work to be done to ensure successful implementation of the transition plan, adding that HirShabelle State will closely work with AMISOM to ensure gains made in stabilizing the country are not eroded.

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