Second stage of ATMIS troop withdrawal underway

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The second ATMIS (African Union Transition Mission in Somalia) troop withdrawal in six months is currently underway in the east African country.

“Recommencement” of the second phase was announced early in December in the wake of what an ATMIS statement said was a request for “a technical pause” by the Somali federal government.

The troop withdrawal, termed a “drawdown” by the African Union (AU) mission communicators, was set to see three thousand troops withdrawn and control of eight forward operating bases (FOBs) transferred to the Somali Security Forces (SSF). The withdrawal is per a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution and will see a thousand troops exit Somalia,  joining the two thousand who left in the first phase. That phase saw seven FOBs handed to SSF.

Post the “technical pause”, extensive discussions between ATMIS, the Somali government and the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) saw “measures put in place” to resume the troop drawdown. The measures will see the withdrawal process guidelines set by the UNSC and the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) in use again.

“I assure you we are ready to continue supporting the transition and the drawdown to fulfil the mandate while we continue to provide logistic support for ongoing operations. We understand that even as we draw down, other operations are ongoing,” UNSOS Head Dr Aisa Kacyira said at the second drawdown announcement.

Somali government National Security Advisor, Hussein Sheikh Ali, noted the “security transition process is progressing as planned” ahead of the Somali government taking “security responsibility for the country” – set down for December 2024.