ATMIS drawdown sees another base under Somali control

183

In line with what the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) heard last month, the ATMIS (African Union Transition Mission in Somalia) drawdown and troop withdrawal continues as planned.

The latest component in the phase three withdrawal saw the Somali National Armed Forces (SNAF) receive the Orhasan forward operating base (FOB) from ATMIS Military Chief of Plans, Colonel Alex Cann on 30 June. Orhasan, manned by a detached contingent from the Djibouti National Defence Forces (DNDF) for the past 12 years, is the fifth base handover in phase three.

It is, according to ATMIS, an important security buffer for Beletweyne Airport in north-west Somalia as well as providing safety and security to the local community from Al-Shabaab militants.

“I want to assure you that even as we hand over security responsibilities, ATMIS will continue to work with SNAF to achieve security and stability. I would like to pay tribute to the gallant soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the fight against Al-Shabaab and urge you to continue working collaboratively to restore peace and security in Somalia,” Cann, representing Acting ATMIS Force Commander, ATMIS Sector Four, commended the outgoing Djibouti troops for outstanding efforts towards security and stability in the Hiraan region.

He further urged the SNAF to maintain the base while protecting civilians and securing Beletweyne town and environs.

The UN Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) handed the SNAF UN-owned equipment including generators, refrigerators and water storage tanks.

“We are here to provide logistic support to ensure this base continues to operate. We are providing both camp and life support facilities, ensuring physical infrastructure is human-friendly for the SNAF to take over,” UNSOS Chief of the Transition Planning Cell, Patrick Duah, said at the handover.