ATMIS drawdown on schedule

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The phase two ATMIS (African Union Transition Mission in Somalia) drawdown is complete with a further three thousand soldiers exiting the country, seven forward operating bases (FOBs) transferred and two more closed.

The FOBs transferred were State House and Parliament from ATMIS Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) in Sector One; Bio Cadale, Raga Ceel and Qorillow from ATMIS Burundi National Defence Forces (BNDF) in Sector Five; Burahache from ATMIS Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in Sector Two; and Old Airport from ATMIS Ethiopia National Defence Forces (ENDF) in Sector Six. FOBs in Sarille and Old Kismayo Airport were closed – both were occupied by ATMIS KDF in Sector Six and Two previously.

The transfer was formalised by a land release title agreement, signed by African Union (AU) Special Representative for Somalia and Head of ATMIS, Ambassador Mohamed El-Amine Souef and Somalia National Security Advisor Hussein Sheikh Ali.

The United Nations (UN) Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), in terms of a gifting certificate, hands the Somali government generators, solar panels and water treatment plants. It further commits to technical training for the Somali Security Forces (SSF) to ensure equipment remains serviceable.

ATMIS Force Commander, Lieutenant General Sam Okiding, said the teamwork exhibited by ATMIS, UNSOS and the Somali government made successful completion of drawdown phases one and two reality.

“Our collective efforts have been significant in drawing down a total of 5 000 troops in phases one and two. We start preparations soon for the next phase to reduce numbers by 4 000 troops in June. I am confident in continued success based on our united and cohesive approach. For us, failure is not an option,” the Ugandan three-star said.