Second ATMIS troop drawdown underway

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The second ATMIS (African Union Transition Mission in Somalia) troop withdrawal started at the weekend when the Bio Cadale forward operating base (FOB) in HirShabelle State was handed to Somali Security forces (SSF).

The drawdown, in ATMIS terminology, is the second this year and will see three thousand soldiers exit the East African country by month-end. The first troop withdrawal in June this year saw the Mission cut by two thousand soldiers and six FOBs handed to the SSF in the form of the Somali National Army (SNA).

Bio Cadale, ATMIS said, is a strategic base because its location makes it a buffer to Jowhar, where the state’s administrative headquarters are. It was manned by the Burundi National Defence Force (BNDF).

Speaking at the handover, ATMIS Bio Cadale commander, Lieutenant Colonel Philippe Butoyi, called the transfer “a testament to Somalia’s leadership in rebuilding the country, protecting the population and ensuring security and stability”.

He paid tribute to troops and leadership saying Somali Security Forces (SSF) “attacked, seized and held ground” demonstrating increased capability.

As part of the handover UNSOS (United Nations Support Office in Somalia), ATMIS logistic support provider, “gifted” the SNA contingent taking over Bio Cadale UN-owned equipment. This took the form of a generator, water treatment plant, solar panels, boreholes, refrigerators, freezers and water storage tanks among others. To ensure the new arrivals can maintain the equipment, UN support office personnel provided operating and maintenance training for SNA personnel.