Burundian Maj. Gen. Marius Ngendabanka has assumed his duty as the new African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) Deputy Force Commander (DFC).
Maj. Gen. Ngendabanka arrived in the Somalia capital Mogadishu Thursday to officially assume duties.
Upon arrival, he inspected a guard of honour mounted by Sector 1 forces at ATMIS Force headquarters.
The new DFC was then welcomed by ATMIS Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Teggegn Kindu Gezu and met senior ATMIS military staff officers working at the Force headquarters.
At the close of the week, ATMIS contingent and Somali Security Forces carried out a joint combat patrol in Kaltumo and Nagerwein locations along the Shabelle river.
This operation is part of ongoing efforts of maintaining peace and security in the Bal’ad area.
Earlier, the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), Daud Aweis, and the SRCC and Head of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), Ambassador Mohammed El-Amine Souef, jointly reiterated the commitment of the FGS and ATMIS to pursuing joint military collaboration in the ongoing fight against Al-Shabaab in the south and central Somalia.
They both also agreed to work closely in peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts at the federal and community levels.
At a joint press conference on Wednesday, the Minister of Information and ATMIS SRCC announced that ongoing military operation against Al-Shabab has registered significant gains in the Federal Member States of Galmudug, Hirshabelle, Southwest, Jubaland and Mogadishu.
“The success clearly demonstrates the close collaboration between our forces and the local residents. In general, the number of Al-Shabab Kharijites killed in the country in the last seven days is 323,” said Minister Aweis.
The Federal Government and ATMIS noted that the collaboration of the local population and the Somali Security Forces have helped liberate a number of locations including El Dher, Harar Dhere and Gal’ad in Galmudug State.
“The Al-Shabaab terrorists have been controlling these areas for more than 15 years, but that has however come to an end,” Minister Aweis emphasised.
To counter Al Shabab propaganda, he said, the Government Communication Office (GCO) has been established to align all communications against the terrorists and raise awareness about their evil deeds.
Ambassador Souef reiterated ATMIS’ continued support to the Somali Security Forces in the ongoing military operations against Al-Shabab.
“ATMIS is supporting the ongoing operations in terms of logistics. We are using our air assets, our enablers to provide air support and also provide medical evacuation at the frontline,” said the Head of ATMIS, Ambassador Souef.
He saluted the political will demonstrated by the national leaders led by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who is directly involved in the ongoing Somali-led operations against Al-Shabaab and continues to visit the frontline.
The two senior officials also welcomed the groundswell of opposition against Al-Shabaab, and the support the Somali National Army (SNA) is receiving from the local communities, which has made possible the liberation of territories under Al-Shabaab control.
“Somalis feel that their number one enemy is Al-Shabaab. and that is why the SNA is getting a lot of support from the people who are on the ground and the Federal Member States,” Ambassador Souef observed.
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