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Atmis new commander says he would prioritize smooth transition of security to Somali forces



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By: Xinhua

MOGADISHU—The new force commander of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), Sam Okiding, has prioritized a smooth transition of security responsibilities to Somali security forces while consolidating the gains made in stabilizing the country.

Okiding, who arrived in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Sunday and immediately got down to work, said he will speed up the current security situation in the country.

“The most important thing is to support the Somali security forces in accordance with the CONOPS (Concept of Operations), the Somali Transition Plan, and the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2628 and 2670,” he said on arrival, according to a statement issued by the AU mission on Sunday evening.

Okiding, who is from Uganda, succeeded Diomede Ndegeya from Burundi who completed his duty late last year.

Okiding pledged to work closely with all stakeholders to implement the mission’s mandate of ensuring a smooth handover of security responsibilities to Somali security forces.

“All stakeholders will have to play a role in the transition process. My work is to give direction on the side of the military and I am confident that we shall all work together,” he said.

Okiding’s remarks came after the AU mission said Sunday it had stepped up preparations for the withdrawal of 2,000 soldiers from Somalia by June 30


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