Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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ATMIS Military Commanders Conclude Meeting on Troop Withdrawal

Top military commanders of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) have concluded a four-day meeting to evaluate the first phase of ATMIS troop withdrawal from Somalia, which was successfully implemented in June. 

The meeting held in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, was attended by contingent commanders of the five troop contributing countries; Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Burundi. It was chaired by ATMIS Force Commander Lt. Gen. Sam Okiding. 

“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,” said Lt. Gen. Okiding at the end of the meeting on Saturday. 

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

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

The meeting conducted under the theme, “Enhancing Synergy Towards Implementation of ATMIS CONOPS,” also discussed the upcoming phase two withdrawal of 3000 ATMIS troops, which is expected to be completed by end of September. 

Under phase two, the commanders deliberated on the FOBs to be handed over to the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and their security implications. 

ATMIS Deputy Force Commander in charge of Support and Logistics Maj. Gen. Peter Kimani Muteti, who spoke at the opening of the meeting on Wednesday, described the conference as timely and key to fulfilling the Mission’s mandate ahead of its exit from Somalia in December 2024. 

“The key components of our mandate include degrading Al-Shabaab, protecting civilians, ensuring that we give access to and escorts to humanitarian assistance, mentoring Somali Security Forces and also supporting the stabilization process,” said Maj. Gen. Muteti. 

He encouraged the sector commanders to continue fulfilling the ATMIS mandate of securing Somalia both in individual and joint military operations. 

ATMIS and SSF are currently planning the second phase of the joint military operations against Al-Shabaab following the completion of the first phase, which liberated chunks of territory in central and southern Somalia that were under the control of terrorist group. 

ATMIS’s Deputy Force Commander in charge of Operations and Plans, Maj. Gen. Marius Ngendabanka, underscored the importance of conducting an assessment of the security implications of the first phase of ATMIS troop withdrawal. 

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

The sector commanders meeting is held after every four months to plan the Mission’s security priorities in implementation of the Concept of Operations (CONOPS), a document that alongside the Somali Transition Plan, provides a roadmap on military operations against the Al-Shabaab and the gradual transfer of security responsibilities to SSF. 

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