SNA takes over Raga Ceel military base from ATMIS

18 Oct 2023

SNA takes over Raga Ceel military base from ATMIS

Hirshabelle, 18 October 2023 – The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) on Wednesday handed over Raga Ceel Forward Operating Base (FOB) to the Somali National Army (SNA) as part of an ongoing troop redeployment in the fight against terrorism. 

“This handover was supposed to have been done last month, but as you are all aware, the Federal Government of Somalia requested for a technical pause of the drawdown which the AU Peace and Security Council has agreed to,” said ATMIS Chief Logistics Officer Col. Jean Bosco Sibondavyi who presided over the handover ceremony. 

He further explained that the handover “did not violate” Somalia’s request for a technical pause of the drawdown of ATMIS troops for 90 days. 

“This agreement was reached in consensus with the Somali National Army. We all agreed to proceed with the handover for Raga Ceel due to operational activity needs in Sector 5. The troops taking over this FOB will reinforce other Forward Operating Bases,” he added. 

He said that the troops from ATMIS 68th Battalion will move to other parts within the federal member state to participate in joint military operations and also support the SNA to hold liberated areas to maintain security and stability. 

Located in the Middle Shabelle region, Raga Ceel FOB has been under the control of the Burundi National Defence Forces (BNDF) troops, who oversee security in ATMIS Sector 5 Area of Responsibility. 

The commander of the ATMIS Burundi troops, 68th Battalion, Lt. Col. Jean Baptise Nahishakiye, handed over the base. 

“This is significant step for both ATMIS and the Somali National Army. As we transfer our responsibility of this FOB to SNA, I am confident that they will protect and defend the safety, security and human rights of Somali people,” said Lt. Col Nahishakiye. 

The incoming SNA commander for Raga Ceel FOB, Lt. Idow Ali Mohamed, lauded the ATMIS Burundi troops for conducting joint offensives with SNA against Al-Shabaab, stabilising liberated territories and maintaining security in the region. 

“Today I am extremely happy that we are taking control of Raga Ceel from ATMIS forces. We pledge to walk in their footsteps by maintaining peace and security while ensuring that the human rights of the residents are safeguarded,” said Lt. Idow. 

The event was also attended by officials from the United Nations Support Office in Somalia’s Transition Planning Cell, led by Santosh Koka, who handed over UN-owned equipment to the Somali Security Forces (SSF). 

The re-organisation of the ATMIS and SNA troop deployment is expected to bolster the ongoing military offensive in the Middle Shabelle region where the joint forces have registered significant gains and dislodged Al-Shabaab from vast territories. 

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