UNSOS, FGS and ATMIS announce resumption of second phase troop drawdown

2 Dec 2023

UNSOS, FGS and ATMIS announce resumption of second phase troop drawdown

Mogadishu – 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.

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 process which was initially scheduled to conclude by the end of September, was halted following a request for a technical pause by the Federal Government. Two FOBs, Biocadale and Ragaceel, had already been handed over in September and October respectively.

The Head of UNSOS Ms. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, alongside the Head of ATMIS, Amb. Mohamed El-Amine Souef and Somalia’s National Security Advisor, Hussein Sheikh Ali, made the announcement during a joint media briefing at Villa Somalia- the seat of the Presidency - in Mogadishu.

“I am honoured to be part of this historical moment. The transition and drawdown we are continuing to do is a consequence of successful collaboration and work. I commend the Federal Government, the President and his team with whom we have worked very closely for having made this to happen even against the tide of El-Nino,” said Ms. Kacyira.

“I also thank the Head of ATMIS, Amb. Souef and his team with whom we have worked closely not only at strategic political level but more importantly at the operational level,” she added.

On his part Amb. Souef said following the technical pause in September, ATMIS, FGS and UNSOS have since put in place measures to resume the process as mandated by the UN Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council.

“After a couple of meetings at the tripartite technical level, we came to the conclusion that we have taken into consideration the African Union Communique and the UN Security Council resolution for the implementation of phase two of the drawdown. The deadline is 31 of December this year, so after consultations and discussions, all measures have been taken and the drawdown will take place by 31 December,” Amb. Souef declared.

Hussein Sheikh Ali, Somalia’s National Security Advisor, reaffirmed the FGS’ commitment to respect the set timelines affirming that the Somali security forces (SSF) are ready to take over the remaining eight (8) Forward Operating Bases when ATMIS troops withdraw.

“We wish to clarify that the security transition process is alive, and the Somalia government is committed to see it through, the international community is also committed to see it through and to ensure the government takes over security responsibilities of the country by December 2024,” reiterated the National Security Advisor.

Dr, Kacyira assured the government and the people of Somalia of UNSOS’ continued support to ensure a successful transition.

“I want to assure you that we are ready to continue supporting the transition, and the drawdown to fulfil the mandate given by the UN Security Council and together with that to continue supporting logistically with operations because we know that even with the drawdown, there are other operations going on,”  

In the first phase of the drawdown concluded in June, ATMIS withdrew 2000 troops and handed over seven (7) Forward Operating Bases to the Somali National Army in a gradual transfer of security responsibilities as mandated by UN Security Council Resolutions 2687 and 2670.

During the handover of FOBs, UNSOS donated UN owned equipment and facilities to the Somali National Army (SNA) including solar panels, water storage and treatment plants, accommodation facilities and generators among others. UNSOS conducted capacity building trainings for SNA personnel on the operation and maintenance of the equipment and plants.

The UN logistical support body also facilitated the movement of troops and heavy equipment and the repatriation of troops to their home countries.

The AU peacekeeping mission is expected to withdraw a further 4000 troops by June 2024 ahead of the final exit in December.

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