Sector commanders discuss Somalia security ahead of next stage of ATMIS drawdown

Sector commanders discuss Somalia security ahead of next stage of ATMIS drawdown
Commanders during the meeting | Courtesy

The discussions at the sector commanders conference in Somalia focused on the political situation of the country, security threats assessment, conduct and impact of Phase 1 and Phase 2 drawdowns, reconfiguration capabilities for offensive operations, environmental protection, and the post-ATMIS security.

Top military commanders from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) have concluded plans to map out strategies for the final offensive operations against Al Shabaab terrorists.

The meeting also charted plans for the next phase of an additional 4,000 troops drawdown in June, ahead of ATMIS’s exit from Somalia.

The discussions at the sector commanders conference in Somalia focused on the political situation of the country, security threats assessment, conduct and impact of Phase 1 and Phase 2 drawdowns, reconfiguration capabilities for offensive operations, environmental protection, and the post-ATMIS security.

“This meeting is taking place at a very critical time," said the African Union Special Representative for Somalia and Head of ATMIS, Amb Mohamed el-Amine Souef, in his opening remarks at the meeting held at the ATMIS Force Headquarters in Mogadishu.

"We will take into consideration the recommendations you make in the outcomes of the conference. You have done a very good job during Phase One and Two and I am sure that Phase Three will also be concluded successfully.”

Amb Souef emphasised the magnitude of the monumental task ahead of the Phase Three drawdown and urged the ATMIS military commanders to work closely with the Somali Security Forces (SSF), to ensure the safety and protection of civilians during the transition period.

ATMIS withdrew 5,000 troops and handed over 13 military bases to the Somali Security Forces during the first and second phases of the drawdown.

“We are now moving into the most critical stage of the mission because by June we are going to draw down additional troops and you have to take into consideration force protection. It’s not easy, but we must surmount the challenges by remaining on the maximum alert during the transition period,” added Souef.

The ATMIS Force Commander, Lt Gen Sam Okiding, chaired the sessions assisted by Maj Gen Peter Kimani Muteti, the deputy force commander in-charge of support and logistics and Maj Gen Marius Ngendabanka, the deputy force commander in-charge of operations and plans.

“We have deliberated on a wide range of issues," said Gen Okiding at the close of the conference attended by all sector commanders from the six ATMIS Areas of Responsibility.

"We examined Somalia’s security situation and put into consideration the current Al-Shabaab posture as well as our mandate and the post-ATMIS security situation."

The sector commanders conference is held every quarter to plan the Mission’s security priorities in implementation of the Concept of Operations (CONOPS), a document that alongside the Somali Transition Plan, provides a roadmap on military operations against the Al-Shabaab and the gradual transfer of security responsibilities to SSF.

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