The second phase of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) troop withdrawal, initially delayed, will resume in December, as announced by the ATMIS, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), and the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS). This phase involves the withdrawal of 3,000 troops and the transfer of control of eight Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) by the end of December 2023, in line with U.N. Security Council Resolution 2710 (2023).
The announcement was made during a joint media briefing at Villa Somalia in Mogadishu, with key speakers including ATMIS Head Amb. Mohamed El-Amine Souef, Somalia’s National Security Advisor Hussein Sheikh Ali, and UNSOS Head, Assistant Secretary-General Dr. Aisa Kacyira Kirabo. They highlighted the resumption as a result of collaborative efforts and adherence to the directives of the African Union and the U.N. Security Council.
Somalia’s National Security Advisor confirmed the Somali Security Forces (SSF) readiness to assume control of the eight FOBs and emphasized the government’s commitment to the security transition process, aiming for full responsibility by December 2024. He called for public support in this critical phase.
The briefing also included ATMIS Force Commander Lt. Gen. Sam Okiding, Somalia’s Deputy Chief of Defence Forces Brig. Gen. Madey Nurey Sheikh, and other senior officials. It follows the successful completion of the first phase of the drawdown in June, which involved the withdrawal of 2,000 troops and the handover of seven FOBs to SSF, as per U.N. Security Council Resolutions 2687 and 2670.