The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) has begun the second phase of withdrawing troops from Somalia, with the handover of the Bio Cadale Forward Operating Base (FOB) to Somali forces on Sunday.
Bio Cadale Forward Operating Base is strategically located near Jowhar town in HirShabelle State, and its handover is part of the UN-mandated drawdown of ATMIS troops from Somalia by September 2023.
The handover ceremony involved officials from ATMIS, the Somali government, and the UN. ATMIS praised the increasing capabilities of Somali forces to secure the country themselves, and the Somali Army took over security responsibilities for Bio Cadale Forward Operating Base.
The first phase of the drawdown saw 2,000 troops withdraw in June 2023. Bio Cadale FOB is part of the second phase, which will see a further 3,000 troops withdraw by the end of September 2023.
The UN has provided equipment and training to help Somali forces maintain security after the withdrawal.
The handover of Bio Cadale FOB is a significant step in the transition of security responsibilities from ATMIS to Somali forces. It is a testament to the progress that has been made in building the capacity of the Somali security sector, and it is a sign of confidence in the ability of Somali forces to secure their own country.