European Union Training Mission in Somalia (EUTM Somalia)

TheEuropean Union Training Mission in Somalia (EUTM Somalia) was launched on 7 April 2010. It initially conducted training in Uganda; then, the headquarters was relocated to Mogadishu on 16 March 2015. Besides the training, EUTM has an advisory role in building the Somali Ministry of Defense (MoD) capacity and Somali National Army (SNA) General Staff focusing on three essential pillars, training, mentoring, and advising.15

European Union Naval Force Somalia (Operation Atalanta) (EU NAVFOR Somalia)

The European Union Naval Force Somalia (Operation Atalanta) (EU NAVFOR Somalia) was started in December 2008 with the mandate of protecting vessels of the World Food Programme (WFP), African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and other vulnerable shipping, preventing piracy and armed robbery at sea, monitors fishing activities off the coast of Somalia and supports other EU missions and international organizations working to strengthen maritime security and capacity in the region.16 EU NAVFOR also established the Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSCHOA), which provides 24-hour manned
monitoring of vessels transiting through the Gulf of Aden.17

Regional Maritime Capacity Building for the Horn of Africa and the Western Indian Ocean (EUCAP Somalia)

The EU Regional Maritime Capacity Building for the Horn of Africa and the Western Indian Ocean (EUCAP Somalia) was launched in July 2012. EUCAP is a civilian mission based in Mogadishu, aiming to support regional maritime capacity- building and enhance maritime security across the Horn of Africa and the Western Indian Ocean (WIO). As of the end of 2015, it solely focused on Somalia also including Somaliland.18

Ethiopia contributes a total of 984 personnel, 943 contingent troops, seven staff officers, five experts on mission, and 29 individual police;

African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNMID):

After civil war broke out between the Government of Sudan and militias and other armed rebels in Darfur in 2003, AU PSC authorized the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) deployment of an AU-mandated mission to monitor the Humanitarian Ceasefire Agreement in 2004. Later, AMIS was merged with the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) in December 2007 to become the joint AU–UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).19 UNAMID’s mandate is to protect civilians, monitor, verify the implementation of agreements, assist the political process, and monitor and report on the situation along the borders with Chad and the Central African Republic. 14% out of the total personnel in the mission contributed from the states of the Horn of Africa. Djibouti contributes 137 formed police unit; Ethiopia contributes a total of 984 personnel, 943 contingent troops, seven staff officers, five experts on mission, and 29 individual police; Kenya contribute a total of 87 personnel, 11 staff officers, one expert on a mission, and 75 contingent troops.20 UNAMID ended its activities on 31 December 2020.

United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA):

A few weeks before South Sudan declared its independence on 9 July 2011, clashes between Sudan Armed Forces and Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLM) over disputed, oil-rich border region Abyei drove more than 100,000 people from their homes. On 27 June 2011, the Security Council authorized the deployment of a peacekeeping force to the Abyei Area, which both sides claimed. UNISFA’s establishment came after both reached an agreement in Addis Ababa to demilitarize Abyei and let Ethiopian troops monitor the area.21 UNISFA has the principalmandate is monitoring the demilitarization of any forces other than UNISFA and the Abyei Police Service.

Also, de-mining assistance and technical advice, facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid, strengthen the Abyei Police Service’s capacity by providing support, and provide security for oil infrastructure in the Abyei Area.22

UNISFA is a unique type of peacekeeping operation since the beginning of UN peacekeeping in 1948 because 100% of the contingent troops are from Ethiopia.

UNISFA is a unique type of peacekeeping operation since the beginning of UN peacekeeping in 1948 because 100% of the contingent troops are from Ethiopia. Holger Osterrieder et al. describe the deployment as follows:

The deployment of troops for UNISFA took place ‘significantly more quickly than is usually the case [with UN peacekeeping operations].’ Only one month after its authorization, almost 500 troops had been deployed to the Abyei region.
Operations started on 8 August 2011, while patrols began at the end of August 2011. The fact that UNISFA troops were drawn from one country, Ethiopia, helps to explain this prompt deployment. Indeed, the Ethiopian troops were ready to be deployed even before the UN Security Council authorized the mission.
The land route from Ethiopia to Abyei was used to transfer troops within a week… The Ethiopian troops did not require the living standards normally necessary for UN missions. Temporary housing in tents was an efficient way to ensure the timely deployment of troops.Only a few months after its authorization, the UN Secretary-General declared that the mission was ‘in a position to secure the Abyei area’ and thus able to fulfill its mandate.23


Ethiopia is the only Horn of Africa state which contributes to this mission. It contributes a total of 4,453, 4,287 contingent troops, 78 experts on mission78 staff officers, and ten police personnel, which is 97% of the total personnel and 24% of the police personnel.24

However, according to Sudan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Maryam El Sadig El Mahdi, because of Ethiopia’s unacceptable decision to fill the Renaissance Dam and ‘intrusion’ of the eastern borders in El Fashaga in El Gedaref, Sudan claim “it is not reasonable to have Ethiopian forces in the strategic depth of Sudan”. Thus, the United Nations has agreed to a request from Khartoum to withdraw the Ethiopian contingent of a peacekeeping force, even though Ethiopia resisted stating that UNISFA was established following the joint agreement of Sudan and South Sudan, and its drawdown should be agreed upon by both parties because South Sudan was comfortable with the presence of Ethiopian troops in UNISFA.

On the same date, South Sudan becomes the newest county in the world, and the UNMIS operation was ended;

United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS):

On the same date, South Sudan becomes the newest county in the world, and the UNMIS
operation was ended; the Security Council established UNMISS on 9 July 2011 with the mandate ‘to help establish the conditions for development in the Republic of South Sudan, intending to strengthen the capacity of the Government of the Republic of South Sudan to govern effectively, democratically and establish good relations with its neighbors.’358 However, with the rise of the recent political and security crisis in December 2013, which resulted in an enormous humanitarian crisis, on 27 May 2014, the Security Council reprioritized the mandate to the protection of civilians, monitoring human rights, assisting the delivery of humanitarian and supporting the implementation of the cessation of Hostilities.25 As of November 2018, Ethiopia has 2,106 military and 26 police personnel, and Kenya contributes 23 police personnel, which is 14% of the total UN military personnel in UNMISS.26

Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism in South Sudan (CTSAMM):

The IGAD established the CTSAMM following the signing of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) in August 2015 by warring parties in South Sudan. It is responsible for monitoring and verifying the implementation of Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements (PCTSA) and the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities (ACoH), which is signed in December 2017. CTSAMVM led by Maj. Gen. Desta Abiche Ageno of Ethiopia and there are over 200 personnel from 17 different countries, the majority of whom are former military officers. It is headquartered in Juba with 16 Monitoring and Verification Teams (MVTs) in the most conflict-affected areas of South Sudan.361 CTSAMM reports to the IGAD Council of Ministers and to the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), which includes the warring parties that signed the agreement, South Sudanese civil societies, members of IGAD, and international partners.27

Regional Cooperation Initiative for the Elimination of the Lord’s Resistance Army (RCI-LRA):

The African Union PSC designated the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) as a terrorist group and established Regional Cooperation Initiative for the Elimination of the LRA (RCI-LRA) in November 2011. It has three organs, the Joint Coordination Mechanism (JCM), in Addis Ababa, chaired by the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, and comprises Ministers of Defense of the affected countries (Uganda, South Sudan, DRC, and CAR), the Regional Task Force (RTF), headquartered in Uganda, is the military component with a maximum of 5,000 troops to be contributed by the affected countries.363 As of July 2017, there was 1031 uniformed personnel from DR Congo, South Sudan, and the Central Africa Republic. 28

Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa:

The UN has Political Missions and Good Offices Engagements, which are led by the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. Currently, the UN has 25 Political Missions and Good Offices Engagements; 12 in Africa, 2 in the Americas, 3 in Asia, 2 in Europe, and 6 in the Middle East. In the past, it completed 29 political missions in the world, one of which was in Somalia,the United Nations Political Office for Somalia
(UNPOS), which was completed in 2013.29

Concluding discussion

Today the Horn region consists of two of the nine newest states in the world, Eritrea and South Sudan. Furthermore, Somaliland is striving to be one since 1991 by establishing the most stable state and conducting a peaceful government transition in the region by challenging the image of war and disaster that has been associated with the region.

In Michael Sheehan’s words, the security complex in the Horn of Africa is held together not by the positive influences of shared interest but by shared rivalries. The dynamics of security within these levels operate across a broad spectrum of military, political, economic, societal, and environmental sectors.

The Horn of Africa region is known for the high presence of UN and AU military support operations. There is currently a presence of peace support missions in Darfur, Sudan; Abyei Sudan– South Sudan border where 100% of the contingent troops are from Ethiopia; Somalia; and South Sudan. In the past, there were missions in Somalia, in the Ethiopia-Eritrea border, on the Uganda- Rwanda border, and in Sudan. From the first UN mission in the region in 1992 until 2019, there were 19 multinational peace support operations by AU, EU, IGAD, and UN.

The most common trends of conflict in the region are intrastate/ethnic conflicts, resulting from the existence of more than three hundred seventy linguistic groups or can be ethnic groups in the region. Interstate conflicts resulted from the missdrown borders, which cut through ethnic, cultural, historical, and religious groups that sway states of the region to claim neighboring state territories. Religious fundamentalism and violence, resulting from the existence of failed states and their proximity to the Middle Eastern states. Conflicts caused by a change in living space resulted from the environmental degradation and climate change that cause scarcity of pastoral lands and water, especially among pastoralist communities, and supporting neighboring state rebels, also has been a tradition of the regimes of the region.