Mogadishu, December 2, 2023 – Top officials of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), and the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) have jointly announced the
recommencement of the second phase of ATMIS troop withdrawal from Somalia in December.
As directed by the UN Security Council Resolution 2710 (2023), ATMIS will withdraw 3,000 troops from Somalia and transfer control of eight (8) Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) by the end of December 2023. This process originally intended to conclude by the end of September 2023, was halted following a request by the Federal
Government for a technical pause.
The Head of ATMIS, Amb. Mohamed El-Amine Souef, together with Somalia’s National Security Advisor, Hussein Sheikh Ali, and Head of the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), Assistant Secretary- General, Dr Aisa Kacyira Kirabo, made the announcement during a joint media briefing at Villa Somalia – the
seat of the Presidency in Mogadishu.
“After extensive discussions at the tripartite technical level among the three parties and in line with the directives of the African Union Communique and the UN Security Council Resolution 2710, today we jointly announce that ATMIS will resume and complete the drawdown of 3000 troops by December 31, 2023,” said Ambassador Souef.
Amb. Souef noted that since the technical pause in September, ATMIS, FGS, and UNSOS had worked collaboratively to put in place measures to resume the process as set forth by the UN Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council.
“I want to assure you that we are ready to continue supporting the transition and the drawdown to fulfil the mandate while we continue to provide logistical support for ongoing operations. We understand that even as we drawdown, other operations are ongoing,” said the Head of UNSOS, Dr Aisa Kacyira expressing her appreciation to ATMIS and FGS for their close cooperation and coordination.
Somalia’s National Security Advisor, Hussein Sheikh Ali, reaffirmed the FGS commitment to adhere to the established timelines. He underscored that Somali Security Forces (SSF) are prepared to assume control of the eight (8) Forward
Operating Bases to be handed over by ATMIS troops.
“We want to emphasise that the security transition process is progressing as planned. The government of Somalia is committed to see it through. The international community is also committed to see it through and to ensure the
government takes security responsibilities for the country by December 2024,” reiterated the National Security Advisor.
He urged Somalis to support the transition process, stating, “Today, we are here to share information with the Somali public, something they have been waiting to hear from us and which the world has also been waiting to hear on the confirmation of the security transition process. Both the Somalia government and international community are committed to see it through.”
The media briefing was attended by ATMIS Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Sam Okiding; Police Commissioner, Hillary Sao Kanu; Somalia Deputy Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Brig. Gen. Madey Nurey Sheikh; and other senior officials from
ATMIS, FGS and UNSOS.
In the first phase of the drawdown, which concluded in June, ATMIS withdrew two thousand (2000) troops and transferred control of seven (7) Forward Operating Bases to Somali Security Forces, as mandated by UN Security Council Resolutions 2687 and 2670.