Mogadishu(Mogadishu24)-The Somali Security Forces took over the security responsibilities of Villa Somalia on Sunday, following the successful withdrawal and handover by ATMIS Forces.

The handover occurred in a farewell ceremony for the ATMIS Ugandan Forces, which had maintained security at Villa Somalia for the past 16 years. This withdrawal of 200 troops attached to Villa Somalia is part of the phase two ATMIS drawdown officially resumed today, targeting 3,000 forces by the end of this month.

“Today, ATMIS will officially hand over the State House and Parliament House Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) in Mogadishu to the Federal Government of Somalia. This significant step marks the resumption of Phase 2 of the ATMIS Drawdown,” ATMIS officially said on X.

“The handover of these state institutions, previously central to the ATMIS mandate, is a critical move in the transition process. It fulfils the UNSC Resolution 2710 mandate to reduce troop presence by 3,000 by December 31, contributing to the ongoing,” the statement added.

Daud Aweis, Somalia’s Minister of Information, described this withdrawal as a crucial step showcasing Somalia’s readiness to assume full security control.

“The transfer of security responsibilities at Villa Somalia from ATMIS forces to Somali forces marks a significant milestone in Somalia’s history, demonstrating the country’s preparedness to assume control of its security,” said Minister Aweis.

He added that Somalia has embraced the recently presented Somali Security Plan (SSP), which empowers it to equip its military for taking over its security sector from ATMIS.

“After 16 years of joint management by AU forces and Somali forces, the Somali forces will now be solely responsible for safeguarding these crucial facilities. With the recent adoption of the SSP in New York, the Somali government is set to assume sole responsibility for its security,” he added.

The withdrawal of forces from Villa Somalia will come two weeks after UNSOS and ATMIS announced the resumption of 3,000 ATMIS Forces within this December.

Ambassador Mohammed El-Amine Souef, Head of ATMIS and AU representative to Somalia, last week acknowledged Somalia’s achievements in strengthening its security sector and implementing the National Security Architecture and the Somalia Transition plan.

“In December this year, the second phase of the drawdown will resume targeting 3,000 soldiers. The security forces will hand over the security responsibilities of the areas to the Somali Armed Forces,” Amb. El-Amine said.

The African Union Mission troops, now ATMIS, have been handling the security of the government’s institutions such as the presidency, the parliament, and the offices of the Prime Minister.

The AMISOM troops have been in Somalia since 2007, formed after the emergence of the Al-Shabaab terrorist group, which has been a threat to security in Somalia and its neighbouring countries.

The second phase of the drawdown was delayed for three months after the federal government requested a 90-day technical pause.

Two FOBs, Biyocade and Ragaceele, had already been handed over in September and October, respectively.

Earlier this year, the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2687 issued the withdrawal of ATMIS troops from Somalia, which will be completed by December 2024.

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