The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia will remove 2,000 troops from Somalia by June 30. Once the process is completed, the Somali Security Forces will assume responsibility for national security.
Mohammed El-Amine Souef, the special representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia and the head of ATMIS, stated that a joint technical committee comprised of members drawn from relevant stakeholders, including the Somali government, the United Nations Support Office in Somalia, and ATMIS, identified and agreed on the military bases to be handed over to the Somali Security Forces (SSF) or collapsed.
Souef, who was in Jowhar on an official visit, stated that as ATMIS reduces the number of soldiers on the field, the SSF would expand its numbers to take over the areas that ATMIS will hand over.
“The drawdown is in accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions 2628 and 2670, which require ATMIS to withdraw 2000 troops by the end of June and hand over security in agreed-upon areas to Somali Security Forces,” ATMIS said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
ATMIS has been conducting both combined targeted and routine operations to destroy the extremist group al-Shabaab, which is waging near-daily attacks on government forces. The AU mission also offers security to allow humanitarian actors to transport much-needed food and emergency assistance goods to rural communities.
ATMIS acting force commander Marius Ngendabanka stated that an operations order has already been issued, and the joint technical committee team is on track to achieve the June 30 deadline.
He highlighted that if the SSF takes over, the withdrawal of 2,000 ATMIS soldiers will have no impact on security for vital government installations and large population centers.