ATMIS drawdown en route for year-end finish

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The ATMIS (African Union Transition Mission in Somalia) exit from the Horn of Africa country continues with the Qorilow forward operating base (FOB) handed to the Somali National Army (SNA) before Christmas.

This was the fifth military facility handed over as part of the second phase of the ATMIS troop drawdown.

Situated in the Hiran region of Hirshabelle State, the FOB had been under the command of ATMIS Burundi National Defence Forces (BNDF) since 2014, playing a crucial role in the ongoing military operations against Al-Shabaab ensuring regional security.

“I urge my SNA colleagues taking over the base to continue working closely with other security forces based in this region in collaboration with the civilian population,” said Lieutenant Colonel Jean Baptiste Nahishakiye, ATMIS FOB Commander, who thanked the local community for supporting ATMIS troops.

Incoming SNA commander, Lieutenant Harun Hassan, assured the ATMIS command corps he will continue “from where you have left” thanking Qorilow’s previous Burundian occupants for “selfless service”.

The second phase of the drawdown has seen handover of the State House and Parliament FOBs in line with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution mandating withdrawal of 3 000 ATMIS troops by 31 December.

The drawdown was halted following a request from the Somali federal government for a three-month technical pause. Before the pause two FOBs – Bio Cadale and Raga Ceel – had already been handed to the SNA.

During the first drawdown phase which concluded in June, ATMIS withdrew 2 000 troops and handed over six FOBs.