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ATMIS hands over Qorilow military base to Somali Security Forces

Hirshabelle, 20 December 2023 – The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) on Wednesday handed over the Qorilow Forward Operating Base (FOB) to the Somali National Army (SNA), marking the transfer of the fifth military facility as part of the second phase of the ATMIS troop drawdown.

Situated in the Hiran region of Hirshabelle State, the FOB had been under the command of ATMIS Burundi National Defence Forces (BNDF) since 2014, playing a crucial role in the ongoing military operations against Al Shabaab ensuring regional security.

“I urge my SNA colleagues taking over the base to continue working closely with other security forces based in this region in collaboration with the civilian population. I thank the local community for the support given to our troops,” said Lt. Col. Jean Baptiste Nahishakiye, the ATMIS FOB Commander, terming the handover as a significant milestone in the peacebuilding process.

During the ceremony, Lt. Harun Hassan, the incoming SNA commander for Qorilow FOB, signed the handover documents to symbolise the transfer of security responsibilities. Col Nahishakiye and Santosh Koka, from the Transition Planning Cell, signed on behalf of ATMIS and UNSOS, respectively.

The event was presided over by ATMIS Force Headquarters Chief of Plans, Col. George Nkansah, and witnessed by the ATMIS Chief of the Joint Support Operations Centre (JSOC) Sekou Trawally; Senior Adviser to the Head of UNSOS Yvette Langenhuizen, and the SNA Representative Capt. Sakariye Mohamed Omar. Lt. Harun expressed his commitment to continue the work done by the Burundi forces and thanked them for their dedication in safeguarding the base and the local community.

“I want to assure you that we will continue from where you have left. I would like to thank the Burundi forces for your selfless service in securing this base and the local community for many years and wish you a safe journey back home,” said Lt. Harun.

The second phase of the drawdown resumed on Monday with the handover of State House and Parliament FOBs. The process is in line with the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2710 (2023), mandating the withdrawal of 3,000 ATMIS troops by 31 December 2023.

The drawdown had previously been halted following a request from the Federal Government for a three-month technical pause. Before the pause two Forward Operating Bases (FOBs); Bio Cadale and Raga Ceel, had already been handed over in September and October respectively.

During the first phase of the drawdown, which concluded in June, ATMIS withdrew 2,000 troops and handed over six Forward Operating Bases.

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