Saturday November 4, 2023
The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) has intensified its joint military offensives with Somali Security Forces, continuing the robust fight against Al-Shabaab.
The ATMIS Force Commander, Lieutenant General Sam Okiding, at a press briefing on Wednesday said that following the technical pause in the phase two drawdown, ATMIS has reorganised its troops. He shared that ATMIS forces from the two Forward Operating Bases that were handed over, Biyo Cadale and Raga Ceel, remain actively engaged in Somalia. They now form an agile mobile unit undertaking joint offensives against Al-Shabaab. This is alongside the ongoing efforts of troops safeguarding major supply routes, population centres, and conducting routine patrols.
“Since the 90-day technical pause in the Phase two drawdown, our operations with Somali Security Forces have significantly intensified. Notably, we’ve successfully taken control of the Cali Fool-dheere Forest in the Middle Shabelle region, a critical Al-Shabaab stronghold,” said Lt. Gen. Okiding.
He acknowledged that the onset of rains has slightly delayed plans for further liberation efforts in joint offensives. Despite these natural challenges, ATMIS, in collaboration with its partners, had established a Taskforce to prepare for El-Nino and its aftermath. The rains have impacted some of ATMIS’s Forward Operating Bases, leading to flooding and operational delays.
“I was in Jowhar on Tuesday to meet with our troops and boost their morale for the upcoming joint offensives,” he said, affirming ATMIS’s dedication to maintaining security and stability in Somalia and building on the successes of its predecessor mission, AMISOM.
“Since starting on April 1, 2022, ATMIS has upheld AMISOM’s territorial gains. This includes supporting Somali Security forces in safeguarding land, air, and sea borders, as well as protecting population centres and key government installations in Mogadishu and the Federal Member States,” he noted.
The Force Commander expressed gratitude to the President of Somalia, H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, for his leadership and prioritisation of the offensives against Al-Shabaab. “The President’s leadership has been exemplary in this regard,” he concluded.