It was created by the African Union's Peace and Security Council on 19 January 2007 with an initial six month mandate. On 21 February, 2007 the United Nations Security Council approved the mission's mandate. Subsequent six-monthly renewals of AMISOM's mandate by the African Union Peace and Security Council have also been authorised by the United Nations Security Council.
AMISOM's current mandate expires in August 2008, having been extended following a report on the situation by the United Nations Secretary General.
AMISOM replaced and subsumed the IGAD Peace Support Mission to Somalia or IGASOM, which was a proposed Intergovernmental Authority on Development protection and training mission to Somalia approved by the African Union on September 14, 2006. IGASOM was also approved by the United Nations Security Council on December 6, 2006.
IGASOM was originally proposed for immediate implementation in March 2005 to provide peacekeeping forces for the latest phase of the Somali Civil War.
At that time, the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) had not yet taken control of Mogadishu, and most hopes for national unity lay with the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) which had organized in Nairobi, Kenya in 2004 and were planning to established a provisional capital in Baidoa, Bay region, Somalia.
By May 2006, the situation was radically different, as the ICU had recently engaged the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism or ARPCT and was fighting for control of Mogadishu in the Second Battle of Mogadishu. By June, they had established control of the capital. Fighting began to spread to other parts of the nation as the UIC gained ground.
Plans for IGASOM continued, though by July there were indications of opposition from the ICU, who saw the initiative as a US-backed, Western means to curb the growth of their Islamic movement.
On 21 February, 2007, the United Nations Security Council authorised the African Union to deploy a peacekeeping mission with a mandate of six months . In March 2007, Ugandan military officials arrived on the ground in Somalia.. On 20 August, 2007, the United Nations Security Council extended the African Union's authorisation to continue deploying AMISOM for a further six months and requested the Secretary-General to explore the option of replacing AMISOM with a United Nations Peacekeeping Operation to Somalia.
AMISOM has a different composition. As proposed, it is to comprise an initial 3 battalions, growing to a total of 9 battalions of 850 troops each, which would serve for an initial stabilization period of 6 months. The mission was to be modelled after the African Union Mission in Burundi (AMIB).
Faced with the ascendancy of the UIC after taking over the capital in the Second Battle of Mogadishu between May and June, 2006, UN-watchers were growing concerned with the level of hostility of the ICU towards the proposed IGASOM mission.
Though IGAD and the ICU met and published a cordial and formal communique committing the ICU to the IGAD plans on December 2, by the time United Nations Security Council Resolution 1725 was passed on December 6, the ICU was openly and militantly opposed to peacekeepers entering Somalia, and vowed to treat any peacekeepers as hostile forces. Because of regional divisions, there were also UIC resistance to allowing Ethiopian troops be part of the mission. Ethiopia, for its part, was leery of allowing Eritrean troops to be members of the IGAD peacekeeping force.
In the face of ICU threats, Uganda, the only IGAD members who had openly offered to send forces (a battalion), withdrew in the face of concerns of the present feasibility of the mission. In Uganda's defense, the crisis does not allow for peacekeepers when there are active hostilities conducted with heavy weapons (see Battle of Baidoa).
On December 23 2006, the fate and feasibility of IGASOM remained uncertain, though US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa to obtain assurances and emphasize plans to deploy IGASOM early in 2007.
On January 1, 2007, after the defeat of the ICU in various battles in December 2006, Uganda again renewed its pledge of a battalion of troops. Between Uganda and Nigeria (which is a Member State of the African Union, but not of IGAD), there was a pledge of a total of 8,000 peacekeepers. Malawi also pledged to send forces, while Ghana, Rwanda and Tanzania may do so.
On January 17, 2007, the US ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger, said the US pledged $40 million to support the deployment of a peacekeeping force for Somalia. By January 20, the European Union followed with a pledge of 15 million euros.
On February 9, 2007 a gathering of 800 Somali demonostrators in north Mogadishu, where Islamist support was strongest, burned U.S., Ethiopian, and Ugandan flags in protest of the proposed peacekeeping mission. A masked representative of the resistance group, the Popular Resistance Movement in the Land of the Two Migrations, said Ethiopian troops would be attacked in their hotels; the same group had made a video warning peacekeepers to avoid coming to Somalia. By this date, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi and Burundi had committed to the peacekeeping mission, but the total force was about half of the proposed 8,000-strong force. Uganda had pledged 1,400 troops and some armored vehicles for a mission lasting up to 9 months, and the AU had pledged $11.6 million.
On February 16, 2007 Uganda announced it would deploy 1,500 well-seasoned troops as early as Saturday, February 17, 2007 under the command of Major General Levi Karuhanga. The troops had been training for two years in preparation for the mission.
The Burundian troops were technically ready to go in early August 2007, but equipment promised by the United States and France had not yet arrived. On 23 December 2007, an advance force of 100 Burundians was deployed and another 100 soldiers arrived on 2007-12-24.
|Country||Number of troops||Casualties|
|Uganda||1500 (1200 already in Somalia)||9 killed|
|Nigeria||850 (to be deployed)||none|
|Ghana||N/A (to be deployed)||none|
|Malawi||up to 1000 (to be deployed)||none|
|Burundi||200 (1500 more to be deployed)||1 killed||1 wounded|