Mogadishu — The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) has started to drawdown in compliance with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) 2628(22) and 2670(22) which mandates ATMIS to drawdown 2000 soldiers by the end of June 2023.
Supported by the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), ATMIS, has handed over the first Forward Operating Base (FOB) at Xaaji Cali in the Hirshabelle State to the Somali National Army (SNA). The FOB was under the Area of Responsibility (AOR) of ATMIS Burundi National Defence Forces (BNDF).
The commander of ATMIS BNDF 2nd Battle Group in Xaaji Cali, Lt. Col. Richard Bimenyimana, officially handed over the facility to the Somali National Army (SNA) Commander in the area, Maj. Bashir Abukar Ahmed. The event was attended by senior officials from ATMIS and SNA and chaired by the ATMIS Military Staff Officer for Logistics, Lt. Col. Collins Musau.
“Over the years, we have worked closely with the SNA and this cooperation has contributed significantly to improved stability and security in this area. Today’s handing over forms part of the transfer of security responsibilities,” said Lt. Col. Musau.
The SNA commander for Xaaji Cali, Maj. Bashir, thanked ATMIS for the facility. He also noted that the handover was the culmination of cordial working relationships between ATMIS and SNA troops.
“We have always had good working relations with ATMIS throughout their operations here. Now that they are handing over as mandated, we are happy to take over security responsibilities,” said Maj. Bashir.
The ATMIS BNDF commander of Xaaji Cali FOB, Lt. Col. Richard Bimenyimana, reminded all that the handover is in fulfilment of ATMIS mandate.
“It is a significant step today by ATMIS, following the previous assessment visit to the FOBs by the Senior Leadership teams from ATMIS, SNA and UNSOS,” said Lt. Col. Bimenyimana.
As part of the handover, UNSOS which provides logistical support to ATMIS, left behind a borehole, water treatment and storage equipment, generators, solar panels, associated electrical distribution equipment, refrigerators, and freezers.
Xaaji Cali is located about 70km northeast of Mogadishu. It is part of seven FOBs to be handed over from ATMIS to the SNA by the end of June 2023. In January, ATMIS handed over Maslah FOB to the Federal Government of Somalia.