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ATMIS begins second phase of troop withdrawal from Somalia

By Xinhua

MOGADISHU, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) — The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) started the second phase of troop drawdown from Somalia Sunday with the handover of the Bio Cadale military base in the Hirshabelle State. Philippe Butoyi, the ATMIS commander for Bio Cadale, said the transfer of security responsibility was a testament to Somali leadership in rebuilding the country, protecting the population, and ensuring security and stability. “We have witnessed developments on the battlefield where Somali security forces have demonstrated their increasing capability to secure the country. We have seen the forces attack, seize and hold ground,” Butoyi said in a statement issued in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, Sunday evening, adding that professionally trained and well-equipped Somali security forces are game changers in the fight against terrorism in Somalia. Bio Cadale base, which is under the Area of Responsibility of the ATMIS Burundi National Defense Forces, is strategic as it is a buffer zone to Jowhar town, the administrative headquarters of the Hirshabelle State, according to the statement. During the handover, the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), which provides logistical support to the ATMIS, also donated UN-owned equipment including a generator, water treatment plant, solar panels, boreholes, refrigerators, freezers, and water storage tanks. “UNSOS has also conducted training for SNA officers to enable them to operate and maintain the equipment,” said Patrick Duah, the UNSOS chief of the Transition Planning Cell. The ATMIS is expected to scale down its troop numbers this month by a further 3,000 personnel after successfully withdrawing 2,000 troops and handing over six military bases in June. The ATMIS drawdown follows the UN Security Council Resolutions, which mandate the ATMIS to draw down 2,000 soldiers by June and a further 3,000 by the end of September. Enditem

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