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    AU mission completes second phase of troop departure from Somalia.

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    Somali Magazine

    The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) turned over nine military bases to the Somali government, completing the second phase of army withdrawal from the country.

    “The drawdown of 3,000 troops, and handover of the seven military bases which conclude Bio Cadale, Raga Ceel, Parliament, State House, Qorillow, Burahache, and Kismayo Old Airport ENDF mark a watershed moment in the ongoing Somalia security transition process,” according to a statement issued by ATMIS.

    Speaking at the official transfer ceremony, African Union Commission official Alhaji Sarjoh Bah stated that the drawdown was a key milestone in Somalia’s upward trajectory.

    According to Bah, Somalia’s security forces have shown remarkable courage and persistence in diminishing al-Shabaab as part of the ongoing security sector reforms.

    “Our combined efforts allowed us to carry out an orderly and smooth transition of 2,000 troops last year and 3,000 ATMIS forces this month through the handover of seven critical forward operating bases.

    The African Union intends to begin the phase 3 drawdown of 4,000 extra ATMIS troops by June 30.

    Founded in 2007, the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), formerly known as the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), eventually gathered an estimated 22,000 troops from Uganda, Burundi, and nearby Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti.

    The AU peacekeeping forces sought to aid Somalia’s federal government in its fight against al-Shabab.

    When peacekeepers were originally sent, the al-Qaeda-linked armed organisation controlled almost all of south-central Somalia.

    Working with Somali security forces, AU soldiers forced the fighters into rural areas, which are now under al-Shabab control.

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