The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) has renewed its unwavering commitment to support the ongoing military offensive led by Somalia against the Al Shabaab insurgents.
In a statement, ATMIS said the assistance is intended to ensure the establishment of lasting peace and security within Somalia ahead of its exit next year.
“Our goal, as ATMIS and all stakeholders in this mission, is to see a more secure, stable, and prosperous Somalia at peace with itself and the rest of the world,” ATMIS Force Commander Lt. Gen. Sam Okiding told Somali journalists during a media briefing at the ATMIS Force Headquarters in Mogadishu.
The Force Commander noted that the focus of ATMIS is to enhance the capabilities of the Somali Security Forces (SSF) to take over the country’s security responsibilities as ATMIS gradually withdraws its troops.
“One of our key roles is to make sure that we mentor the Somali Security Forces so that when we exit Somalia, there will be no security vacuum,” Lt. Gen. Okiding explained.
Lt. Gen. Okiding commended ATMIS forces for conducting joint military operations with SSF in the Galgaduud region after successfully degrading Al Shabaab in the Lower Juba, Lower Shabelle, Hiraan and Middle Shabelle regions.
“ATMIS forces have maintained the gains made over the years by not losing any territory to Al Shabaab across all sectors, hence, achieving the mandate of protecting civilians, UN Agencies, and humanitarian agencies among others,” said Lt. Gen Okiding. He added that, “It is one thing to capture, but it’s also another to maintain. ATMIS has consolidated all those gains.”
The completion of the initial phase of troop reduction, concluded in June, saw ATMIS withdraw 2000 personnel while transferring control of six Forward Operating Bases, in strict adherence to the mandates outlined in UN Security Council Resolutions 2628 and 2670 of 2022.
Working in conjunction with the United Nations and the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), ATMIS has successfully concluded a comprehensive technical assessment of the initial phase’s outcomes.
The mission is now in the process of preparing for the subsequent withdrawal of an additional 3000 troops.