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    AU Military Staff Committee concludes fact-finding mission to Somalia

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    Mogadishu, Somalia– A delegation from the African Union (AU) Military Staff Committee who form part of the AU Peace and Security Council have concluded a fact-finding mission to Somalia to assess the security situation ahead of the planned reduction of ATMIS troops at the end of this month and in September 2023.

    The 23-member visiting delegation which included Defence Attaches from 17 African countries held the last of a series of meetings with the leadership of ATMIS, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and the United Nations in Mogadishu. 

    On the drawdown of 2000 ATMIS Troops scheduled for the end of June, the SRCC and Head of ATMIS, Ambassador Mohamed El-Amine Souef, said ATMIS remains committed to handing over security responsibilities to the FGS and preparations for troop reduction are far advanced and on schedule. 

    “What we have done for the drawdown was to establish a Tripartite Technical Committee which includes representatives from the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), the United Nations Support office to Somalia (UNSOS) and ATMIS to plan the details. This has been done in line with the agreed Concept of Operations (CONOPs) and UN Security Council Resolutions 2628 and 2670,” the SRCC and Head of ATMIS explained. 

    “We have agreed to hand over a number of Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) to the Federal Government of Somalia from June 15 2023, as we reduce our numbers by 2000 soldiers”, the SRCC added. 

    Ambassador El-Amine Souef called on the international community to support the lifting of the arms embargo on Somalia to enable Somali Security Forces take ownership of the country’s security in the fight against Al-Shabaab. 

    Somalia’s Minister of Defence, Abdikadir Mohamed Nur, praised the coordination efforts between ATMIS, the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) and the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) to ensuring a smooth transfer of security responsibilities to the Somali Security Forces. 

    “The Ministry of Defence had taken the lead on this assignment and the handover and takeover are a testament that our Somali Security Forces have demonstrated their strength to take over security in their country,” said the Minister. 

    In a sperate meeting, the delegation met with the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) and Head of UNSOM, Catriona Laing, and the Assistant Secretary General and Head of UNSOS, Aisa Kirabo Kacyira. 

    The Head of the Delegation for the African Union Military Staff Committee, Brig. Gen. Ernest Shamu, thanked ATMIS, the FGS and the United Nations for the briefings and engagements. He emphasized that the visit was a fulfilment of the committee’s obligation to advise the AU Peace and Security Council on security matters essential for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security in Africa. 

    “The technical field mission was to obtain firsthand information on the realities in Somalia with a view of advising the Peace and Security Council to take evidence-based decisions within the context of the drawdown of the AU Transition Mission in Somalia troops,” said Brig. Gen. Shamu. 

    The delegation has since departed for the African Union Commission headquarters in Addis Abba, Ethiopia.

    ATMIS

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