AU Special Representative for Somalia Ambassador Mohamed El-Amine Souef on Wednesday visited Baidoa, Southwest State and commended Ethiopian troops serving with the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), for their contribution in restoring peace and security in the Horn of Africa country.
Ambassador Souef made the remarks when he led a delegation of top ATMIS officials to Baidoa, where he presided over the medal award ceremony for Ethiopia National Defence Forces (ENDF) troops who have completed their tour of duty.
The event was attended by Southwest State President Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed “Laftagareen”, Ethiopian Ambassador to Somalia Muktar Mohamed, ATMIS Force Commander Lt. Gen. Sam Okiding, ATMIS Police Commissioner (CP) Hillary Sao Kanu and other senior mission officials.
“I take this opportunity on behalf of ATMIS to thank ENDF for your dedication and commitment throughout your tour of duty which enabled the effective implementation of the ATMIS mandate. With your support Somalia has made significant progress in the fight against Al-Shabaab,” said Amb. Souef during the ceremony held at the ATMIS Sector Three headquarters.
Under ATMIS Areas of Responsibility, Sector Three encompassing Bay, Bakool and Gedo regions, is manned by Ethiopian troops serving under the AU Peacekeeping mission.
The troops who are rotating out after a one-year tour of duty were decorated with AU medals for their fight against the Al- Shabaab and fostering dialogue and reconciliation in Southwest State.
“With your support, the leadership of Southwest State of Somalia was able to host various stabilisation and reconciliation meetings here in Baidoa. For your efforts, Somalia is reaping the dividends of peace and security. We cannot thank you enough for your invaluable contribution,” added Amb. Souef.
The Ethiopian Ambassador Muktar Mohamed, affirmed his country’s commitment to the African Union peacekeeping efforts in Somalia and commended the outgoing officers for their bravery and for being good ambassadors.
“These brave men and women have exhibited exceptional heroism, humanity, and professionalism throughout their deployment,” said Amb. Mohammed.
“Their contribution has been instrumental in reducing the influence and control of Al-Shabaab and other militants, the liberations of major population centres and the creation of a conducive environment for political and State building processes would not have been possible without the tireless efforts and sacrifices of our troops,” he added.
The Southwest State President thanked ATMIS and Ethiopia for their unwavering support to peace and stability in Somalia. This, he noted, has enabled state building and development to be extended to the population.
“Ethiopian troops based here in Baidoa, have worked closely with us to restore security in Southwest State and ensure the safety of our people”, President “Laftagareen said.
The delegation later visited the ATMIS level-2 Hospital in Baidoa where they witnessed a free medical camp for the local community as part of ATMIS Civil- Military-Cooperation (CIMIC) activities to foster good relations with civilian populations.
The medal award ceremony was also attended by members of the Southwest State cabinet, members of the Somali National Parliament, representatives from the United Kingdom Mission Support Team (UKMIST) and UN officials based in Baidoa.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).