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AU hands over second military base to Somali forces ahead of deadline

Friday June 23, 2023


MOGADISHU (Xinhua) -- The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) said Friday it has handed over the second military base to the Somali National Army (SNA) as part of its plan to withdraw 2,000 troops from the East African country.

In the past fives, the Mirtiquo military base in the Hirshabelle State has been guarded by ATMIS Burundi National Defence Forces.

"We are confident that the SNA will be able to carry out their security responsibilities in this area," ATMIS military staff officer for logistics Collins Musau said in a statement issued in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

The Mirtiquo base is the second military base handed over to Somali forces after they took over the Haji-Ali military base in the same state earlier this week.

Hassan Ahmed Hassan, SNA commander for the Mirtiquo base, said his forces are ready to provide security in the area. "I want to thank ATMIS for this handover. We will provide and ensure the safety and security of the area," Hassan said.

ATMIS is expected to withdraw 2,000 troops by the end of June and another 3,000 by September in compliance with the UN Security Council Resolutions 2628 and 2670, which mandates ATMIS to hand over security responsibilities in agreed areas to Somali security forces.