ATMIS drawdown number three goes as planned

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In line with the first two “seamless” troop drawdowns by ATMIS (African Union Transition Mission in Somalia), drawdown number three is currently underway.

It started on Saturday (15 June) with the handover of Bariire forward operating base (FOB) in the Lower Shabelle region to the Somali National Army (SNA). Manned by Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) elements since 2019, Bariire is an important buffer zone 6 0km from Mogadishu. Prior to being taken by African Union (AU) and SNA troops it was a key transit point for al-Shabaab extremists, the AU mission said in a statement.

ATMIS Uganda Contingent Commander, Brigadier General Anthony Mbuusi, is reported as saying the base transfer was “not just a transfer of physical assets, it symbolises progress made in our shared mission”. He added both parties involved would continue to work toward a brighter future for Somalia “built on co-operation, mutual respect and the common goal of finding lasting peace”.

The United Nations Support Office for Somalia (UNSOS) donated equipment, including a generator, water treatment plant, solar panels, boreholes, refrigerators, freezers and water storage tanks in support of the transition.

The third phase of the ATMIS drawdown is in line with three United Nations Security Council resolutions mandating ATMIS to withdraw 4 000 troops by the end of June next year.

Phase three follows the successful conclusion of drawdown phases one and two last year which reduced the number of AU troops by 5 000 and handed 17 FOBs to the Somali Security Forces.