ATMIS Commences Phase Two of Somalia Troop Withdrawal

Soldiers of the Burundi National Defence Force (BNDF) serving with the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) prepare to depart board a United Nations helicopter after handing over a Forward Operating Base in Bio Cadale, Hirshabelle State of Somalia, on 17 September 2023. ATMIS Photo

Bio Cadale, Somalia | THE BLACK EXAMINER | In Bio Cadale, Somalia, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) initiated the second phase of troop withdrawal by handing over the Bio Cadale Forward Operating Base (FOB) in HirShabelle State. Situated in the Middle Shabelle region and under ATMIS Burundi National Defence Forces (BNDF), this base holds strategic importance as it serves as a buffer zone to Jowhar town, the administrative headquarters of HirShabelle State.

Dignitaries from ATMIS, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), and the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) were present at the handover ceremony. Speaking at the event, ATMIS FOB Commander for Bio Cadale, Lt. Col. Philippe Butoyi, praised Somalia’s leadership in rebuilding the nation, safeguarding its people, and ensuring security and stability. He acknowledged the growing capabilities of the Somali Security Forces in securing the country and combating terrorism.

The handover documents, symbolizing the transfer of security responsibilities, were signed by Capt. Ahmed Ali Takow, the Somali National Army (SNA) Commander for Bio Cadale FOB. This momentous occasion was witnessed by Lt. Col. Edouard Nzohabonayo from ATMIS Force Headquarters, Patrick Duah from UNSOS Chief of Transition Planning Cell, and Maj. Muhudin Ahmed, Deputy Chief of the Operations Department for the SNA. Maj. Muhudin Ahmed expressed gratitude to ATMIS Burundian troops for their dedication and discipline in securing HirShabelle State.

As part of the handover process, UNSOS, which offers logistical support to ATMIS, donated various UN-owned equipment, including generators, water treatment plants, solar panels, boreholes, refrigerators, freezers, and water storage tanks, among others. Patrick Duah, UNSOS Chief of Transition Planning Cell, emphasized that UNSOS had also provided training to SNA officers to enable them to operate and maintain the equipment.

ATMIS’ drawdown aligns with United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2628 (2022), 2670 (2022), and 2687 (2023), mandating the withdrawal of 2,000 soldiers by June 2023 and an additional 3,000 by the end of September 2023. The successful first phase of the drawdown saw the exit of 2,000 military troops and the handover of six FOBs in June 2023.

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