Mogadishu(Mogadishu24)-The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) handed over Qorilow base in middle Shabelle region after Villa Somalia and Parliament Building as part of the second phase of the ATMIS troop drawdown.

Qorilow Forward Operating Base (FOB) had been under the command of ATMIS Burundi National Defence Forces (BNDF) since 2014, playing a crucial role in the ongoing military operations against Al- Shabaab ensuring regional security.

“I urge my SNA colleagues taking over the base to continue working closely with other security forces based in this region in collaboration with the civilian population. I thank the local community for the support given to our troops,” said Lt. Col. Jean Baptiste Nahishakiye, the ATMIS FOB Commander, terming the handover as a significant milestone in the peacebuilding process.

The incoming SNA commander for Qorilow FOB, Lt. Harun Hassan signed the handover documents to symbolise the transfer of security responsibilities.

“I want to assure you that we will continue from where you have left. I would like to thank the Burundi forces for your selfless service in securing this base and the local community for many years and wish you a safe journey back home,” said Lt. Harun.

The second phase of the drawdown resumed on Monday with the handover of State House and Parliament FOBs. The process is in line with the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2710 (2023), mandating the withdrawal of 3,000 ATMIS troops by 31 December 2023.

The drawdown had previously been halted following a request from the Federal Government for a three-month technical pause. Before the pause two Forward Operating Bases (FOBs); Biyo-Cadal and Raga Ceel, had already been handed over in September and October respectively.

During the first phase of the drawdown, which concluded in June, ATMIS withdrew 2,000 troops and handed over six Forward Operating Bases.

The ATMIS Troops’ drawdown comes as the Somali National Army and the U.S forces intensified offensive war on Al-Shabaab and two days after the Somali and U.S forces confirmed the killing of Maalin Ayman, a senior Al-Shabaab leader in middle Jubba region on 17th of December.

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