Bio Cadale, Somalia – On Sunday, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) initiated the second phase of its troop withdrawal from Somalia by formally handing over the Bio Cadale Forward Operating Base (FOB) in the HirShabelle State. The Bio Cadale base, situated in the Middle Shabelle region and under the jurisdiction of the ATMIS Burundi National Defence Forces (BNDF), holds strategic importance as a buffer zone to Jowhar town, the administrative headquarters of HirShabelle State.
Dignitaries from ATMIS, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), and the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) were present at the handover ceremony.
During the ceremony, ATMIS FOB Commander for Bio Cadale, Lt. Col. Philippe Butoyi, expressed that the security responsibility transfer signifies Somalia’s progress in rebuilding the nation, safeguarding the population, and ensuring security and stability. Lt. Col. Butoyi commended the increasing capabilities of the Somali Security Forces in securing the country, stating that “professionally trained and well-equipped Somali Security Force are game-changers in the fight against terrorism in Somalia.”
The Somali National Army (SNA) Commander for Bio Cadale FOB, Capt. Ahmed Ali Takow, formally signed the handover documents to symbolize the transition of security responsibilities. The SNA representative, Maj. Muhudin Ahmed, extended gratitude to the ATMIS Burundian troops for their discipline and dedication in securing HirShabelle State, emphasizing their contribution to strengthening the region.
As part of the handover process, UNSOS, which provides logistical support to ATMIS, contributed United Nations-owned equipment, including a generator, water treatment plant, solar panels, boreholes, refrigerators, freezers, and water storage tanks, among other items. UNSOS Chief of Transition Planning Cell, Patrick Duah, mentioned that training had been provided to SNA officers to enable them to operate and maintain the equipment.
The ATMIS drawdown aligns with United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2628 (2022), 2670 (2022), and 2687 (2023), mandating ATMIS to reduce its troop strength by two thousand soldiers by June 2023 and a further three thousand by the end of September 2023. The initial phase of the drawdown, completed in June 2023, involved the departure of 2000 military personnel and the handover of six FOBs.