The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) has successfully completed the first phase of its troop drawdown, handing over of the final two Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), Aljazeera 1 in Mogadishu and Gherille in Jubaland State to the Somali Security Forces.

This collaborative effort involved the United Nations Support Office in Somalia and the Federal Government of Somalia.

“The handover of the FOBs represents an important milestone in the implementation of the Somalia Transition Plan (STP) and the Concept of Operations (CONOPS). It demonstrates the progress made in the drawdown process and the commitment of all parties involved in strengthening Somalia’s security forces,” stated Col. Bosco Sibondavyi, the ATMIS Chief Logistics Officer, who represented the Force Commander.

The Gherille FOB, situated near the Kenya-Somalia border, was handed over by Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to the Jubaland Security Forces. Maj. Terence Shitanda Soita, the ATMIS commander of the FOB, expressed confidence in the SSF’s capabilities, emphasizing the strategic significance of the FOB in combating Al-Shabaab and other armed groups.

“One of the biggest sacrifices someone can make is to shed his blood for you, and that is exactly what KDF have done for Somalia. Kenya is like our right hand. They have been very supportive,” said Lt. Col. Noor Abdi Hussein, the Deputy Commander of Jubaland Security Forces in the Gedo region, acknowledging the contributions of ATMIS KDF troops.

The Al Jazeera 1 Training camp, which was under the responsibility of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), has been handed over to the Somali Security Forces.
“We are honored for the time ATMIS and its predecessor, AMISOM, took responsibility for the security of these FOBs, particularly Al-Jazeera 1, which was a training FOB,” expressed Col. Ahmed Mohamed Hassan, an advisor to the SNA Chief of Defense Forces.

A total of 2000 soldiers have left the country in the first phase of the drawdown and handed over Forward Operation Bases, including Haji Ali, Mirtaqwo, Adale, Al Jazeera 1, Arbao, and Marka Ayoub. However, the United Nations has extended the mandate of the African Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) for six months to comprehensively plan for the withdrawal of troops in the second phase of the drawdown.

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