Somalia: African Union Transition Mission in Somalia Hands Over Forward Operating Base to Somali National Army in Troop Drawdown Effort

Nairobi — As part of its ongoing troop drawdown, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) has officially handed over a Forward Operating Base (FOB) to the Somali National Army (SNA), ceding control over the facility.

The handover aligns with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) 2628(22) and 2670(22), which require ATMIS to reduce its troop presence by 2000 soldiers by the end of June 2023.

On Tuesday, ATMIS with the support of the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) transferred the Xaaji Cali base, situated approximately 70km northeast of Mogadishu, to the SNA.

The base is one of seven FOBs scheduled to be handed over from ATMIS to the SNA by the end of June 2023.

The Xaaji Cali base had been under the Area of Responsibility (AOR) of ATMIS’s Burundi National Defence Forces (BNDF).

During the handover ceremony, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Bimenyimana, the commander of ATMIS BNDF 2nd Battle Group in Xaaji Cali, formally handed over the facility to Major Bashir Abukar Ahmed, the SNA Commander in the area.

The event was attended by senior officials from ATMIS and SNA, and Lieutenant Colonel Collins Musau, the ATMIS Military Staff Officer for Logistics, chaired the proceedings.

Lieutenant Colonel Musau highlighted the longstanding collaboration between ATMIS and the SNA, which has significantly contributed to improved stability and security in the region.

“Over the years, we have worked closely with the SNA, and this cooperation has played a crucial role in enhancing the stability and security of this area. Today’s handover represents the transfer of security responsibilities,” he stated.