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Friday, April 12, 2024

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    MEETING OF ATMIS MILITARY COMMANDERS ON TROOP WITHDRAWAL ENDS

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    Top military commanders of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) met for four days to assess the first phase of ATMIS troop departure from Somalia, which was completed successfully in June.

    The conference was attended by contingent commanders from the five soldier providing countries: Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Burundi. ATMIS Force Commander Lt. Gen. Sam Okiding presided over the meeting.

    “We discussed a wide range of issues, including the general security situation and the threats posed by Al-Shabaab, and came up with resolutions to be implemented by the respective sector commanders,” Lt. Gen. Okiding said at the meeting’s conclusion on Saturday.

    ATMIS withdrew 2000 troops from Somalia at the end of June, handing over six Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) to the Somali Security Forces (SSF), in accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions 2628, 2670, and 2687.

    “We also discussed the transition in detail, particularly phase one drawdown and its impact, as well as our capacity and capabilities for future operations,” Lt. Gen Okiding continued.

    The discussion, titled “Enhancing Synergy Towards Implementation of ATMIS CONOPS,” also covered the planned phase two evacuation of 3000 ATMIS personnel, which is slated to be completed by the end of September.

    The commanders discussed on the FOBs to be turned over to the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and their security implications during phase two.

    In his opening remarks on Wednesday, ATMIS Deputy Force Commander in charge of Support and Logistics Maj. Gen. Peter Kimani Muteti hailed the conference as relevant and critical to accomplishing the Mission’s mandate until its departure from Somalia in December 2024.

    “Key components of our mandate include degrading Al-Shabaab, protecting civilians, ensuring access to and escorting humanitarian assistance, mentoring Somali Security Forces, and supporting the stabilisation process,” Maj. Gen. Muteti explained.

    He urged sector commanders to continue carrying out the ATMIS duty of safeguarding Somalia through individual and combined military actions.

    Following the conclusion of the first phase of combined military operations against Al-Shabaab, ATMIS and SSF are preparing the second phase, which will free parts of land in central and southern Somalia held by the terrorist group.

    Maj. Gen. Marius Ngendabanka, ATMIS’s Deputy Force Commander in charge of Operations and Plans, emphasised the significance of undertaking an evaluation of the security implications of the first phase of ATMIS personnel departure.

    “We must assess the first phase of the drawdown, its implications for security, humanitarian, political, and other fields, the challenges encountered, and analyse how we can conduct the second phase of the drawdown effectively,” he added.

    Every four months, sector commanders meet to plan the Mission’s security priorities in the implementation of the Concept of Operations (CONOPS), a document that, along with the Somali Transition Plan, provides a roadmap on military operations against Al-Shabaab and the gradual transfer of security responsibilities to SSF.

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