Mogadishu(Mogadishu24)-The former Chief of the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), General Abdirahman Mohamud Tuuryare, stated that the Somali Armed Forces have achieved significant progress in the fight against Al-Shabaab. He expressed his confidence in the army’s ability to eliminate the militant group.

In an interview with Dawan TV, the former Spy chief said that the forces have improved in terms of their capabilities to take on their own responsibility.

“I am among those who are very optimistic that the Somali Armed Forces are not where they were a year ago in terms of their morale, training, experience, spirit, and courage,” said General Abdirahman Tuuryare.

He expressed concern about how the government will manage the transition period and the areas vacated by ATMIS forces but is hopeful that operations against Al-Shabaab will be completed by the end of the year.

“Although there will be concerns about strategies and plans during the transition period after the total withdrawal of ATMIS, our forces are capable of securing our borders from the threats of the terrorist group, which is already imminent in the progress of the operation,” he stated.

“If the National Army, along with the local forces ‘Macawisley,’ managed to liberate more than 100 locations from the enemy, then I believe within the remaining year, they will completely eliminate Al-Shabaab militants,” he added.

The former Spy chief commended the vital role played by ATMIS forces and Somalia’s international partners in their efforts to restore peace and security within the country.

“The ATMIS Forces and international partners have been our key friends in the state-building efforts and restoration of peace and stability within our country. But we shouldn’t take that for granted; it is now time to have self-reliance and build our nation,” General Tuuryare said.

With only 12 months remaining until the completion of total ATMIS withdrawal, some Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) have already been handed over to the Somali Security Forces.

In June 2023, 2,000 ATMIS soldiers were withdrawn from the country, as part of the plan to withdraw 20,000 soldiers by the end of 2024.

This comes a week after important areas, including Villa Somalia, the Parliament House, and some ministerial headquarters, were handed over to the Somali Security Forces as part of the withdrawal of 3,000 ATMIS forces within this month, according to UN Security Council Resolution 2710.

By the end of 2024, all African Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) forces are expected to leave, and the Somali Security Forces will assume the country’s total security responsibilities.

Somalia’s takeover of its security responsibilities is a new test by the international community on the government’s ability, to be witnessed in Somalia’s actions to face the new challenge in the coming days.

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