The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) has announced the initiation of the withdrawal of 2,000 troops from Somalia, according to a statement released on Tuesday.
The Somali security forces have taken control of the Haji-Ali military base in Hirshabelle State, marking the official commencement of the drawdown process, set to be completed by June 30.
In a brief statement, the ATMIS confirmed the start of the drawdown, stating, “The drawdown of 2,000 ATMIS troops by the end of June 2023 started today with the handover of Haji-Ali Forward Operating Base in the Hirshabelle State.”
During a ceremony attended by officials from the ATMIS and the United Nations Support Office in Somalia, Richard Binyenimana, the commander of the ATMIS military base manned by troops from the Burundi National Defence Force, handed over the base to Somali National Army commander Bashir Abukar Ahmed.
The withdrawal of an additional 3,000 soldiers from the ATMIS is expected to take place by September. This withdrawal is in compliance with the mandates set by UN Security Council Resolutions 2628 and 2670, which require the ATMIS to transfer security responsibilities to Somali security forces in agreed-upon areas.
The withdrawal of ATMIS troops signifies a significant step in the ongoing transition process, as Somalia takes on greater responsibility for its own security. The ATMIS’s commitment to gradually transferring security control to Somali forces aligns with the goal of establishing a stable and self-reliant Somalia.