ATMIS hands over control of key military base in Mogadishu to Somali government

Mogadishu (Caasimada Online) – The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) officially transferred control of the Maslah Forward Operating Base to the Federal Government of Somalia. 

According to ATMIS statement, The transfer of control was carried out per the joint Concept of Operations and the Somali Transition Plan, which the Federal Government of Somalia developed, ATMIS, the United Nations, and development partners to guide the transition process. 

A land lease agreement was signed by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia and Head of ATMIS, Ambassador Mohamed El-Amine Souef, and Somali State Minister for Defence, Abdinur Daahir Fidow, during a ceremony held in the capital, Mogadishu.

The ATMIS Burundi contingent has already left the facility, and the Somali National Army subsequently took it over on January 15th. 

Ambassador Souef highlighted the crucial role the FOB played in securing the capital, Mogadishu, and facilitating the mission’s military operations.

He also mentioned that the FOB enabled troops to secure the significant supply route connecting Mogadishu and the hinterland, ensuring the safe and secure movement of goods and services, which is vital for the economic and social development of the country.

Somalia’s State Minister for Defence stated that the handover comes at a time when the Federal Government has intensified military operations against Al-Shabab in central and south Somalia. The United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) Director Amadu Kamara praised the stakeholders for making the process successful despite numerous challenges.

The Acting ATMIS Force Commander, Brig. Gen. Peter Omola spoke about the history and significance of the FOB, noting that the facility has acted as a bulwark against terrorist attacks by Al-Shabab militants.

The commanders of the ATMIS Burundi contingent, Brig. Gen. Jean Claude Niyiburana thanked the local community in Maslah for their support over the years. He stated that his troops would continue playing a part in the stabilization process.

The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission announced that the mission is implementing a comprehensive plan that will address conservation issues and ensure respect for the environment in its activities. 

“Going forward, the mission will prioritize good environmental practices in all its military operations, focusing on using environmentally friendly technology to power its Forward Operating Bases,” said the envoy.