Mogadishu(Mogadishu24)-The Somali National Army and the Somali Police Forces are expected to take over the security of the Presidency (Villa Somalia) from Ugandan Contingent under the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia tomorrow on Sunday.

The National Security Advisor, Hussein Sheikh Ali, saidd that this will be an important milestone for the Somali Transition Plan.

“Somali National Armed Forces and Somali Police Forces will proudly take over the responsibility of Villa Somalia tomorrow, marking a significant milestone for the Somali Transition Plan (STP). Farewell and thanksgiving to ATMIS in Somalia UPDF contingency, which has been responsible for protecting the Presidency, the office of the Prime Minister, and the Parliament House for the last 16 years,” said Hussein Sheikh Ali, the National Security Advisor.

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.

“Top officials of the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), and the Federal Government of Somalia have announced the resumption of the second phase of the drawdown of the AU peacekeeping forces from Somalia by 31 December 2023,” the statement read.

Among the places to be handed over to the Somali Security Forces is Villa Somalia, which has been under the guard of ATMIS Ugandan Forces for 16 years.

“As mandated by the UN Security Council Resolution 2710, ATMIS will now withdraw a further 3,000 troops from Somalia and hand over ten Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) by the end of this December,” the statement read in part.

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

He revealed the withdrawal of 3,000 ATMIS troops from different forward operating bases and handing over to the Somali Armed Forces.

“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.

Ambassador El-Amine reiterated the commitment of the African Union and the African Transition Mission in Somalia to support Somalia’s efforts to fight terrorism and implement comprehensive security sector reforms, such as building strong security institutions.

“The African Union and ATMIS are very committed to providing support to the Somali National Army in their fight against terrorism and strengthening the security sector even after the completion of the drawdown,” he added.

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.

Several leaders and politicians have raised questions on why the ATMIS forces were deployed in such public offices, limiting residents’ access to their leaders.

The AMISOM troops have been in Somalia since 2007, formed after the emergence of the AS 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, Biyo-cadale 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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