Beledweyne(Mogadishu24)-African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) on Sunday handed over the Orhasan Forward Operating Base (FOB) west of Beledweyne city in Hiiraan region to the Somali National Armed Forces (SNAF), marking the fifth base transfer as part of the phase three ATMIS troop drawdown. This significant event underscored the ongoing transition of security responsibilities from international forces to Somali forces.

During the handover ceremony, ATMIS Sector 4 Commander, Col. Said Waberi, expressed his gratitude to the Djibouti troops for their efforts in stabilizing Beletweyne and its surrounding areas.

“We are grateful to the Djibouti troops for their dedication in stabilizing Beletweyne and its environs,” said Col. Waberi.

Maj. Ahmed Muhidin, representing the SNA, reassured the Somali people of their commitment to maintaining security in the region.

“The SNAF are committed to assuming full security responsibilities for the region,” stated Maj. Muhidin.

Patrick Duah, UNSOS Chief of Transition Planning Cell, emphasized the critical role of UNSOS in supporting the Somali Transition Plan through logistical support and capacity building for the SNAF. As part of this support, UNSOS provided the SNA troops with essential equipment, including generators and water tanks.

The handover ceremony was attended by senior officials from ATMIS, UNSOS, and SNA, including ATMIS Chief of Joint Support Operations Centre, Sekou Trawally, ATMIS Chief of Plans, Col. Alex Cann, and ATMIS Staff Officer Major Yahya Kibwana.

Additionally, on Saturday, ATMIS handed over the Abdalla Birolle Forward Operating Base to the SNAF. This base, previously managed by ATMIS Kenya Defence Forces since 2016, is strategically located 52 kilometers southwest of Kismayo and has been crucial for protecting supply routes and the local community.

These transfers are part of the Phase Three drawdown authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 2741 (2024), which mandates ATMIS to withdraw 2,000 troops from Somalia by June 30, 2024, and another 2,000 by September 30, 2024. This strategic handover aims to strengthen the capacity of Somali forces to independently maintain security and stability in the region.

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