AU Special Representative for Somalia Ambassador Mohamed El-Amine Souef commended Ethiopian troops with the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) for their contributions in restoring stability and security in the Horn of Africa nation during a visit to Baidoa, Southwest State, on Wednesday.Ambassador Souef made the remarks while leading a group of senior ATMIS officials to Baidoa, where he presided over the medal award ceremony for Ethiopia National Defence Forces (ENDF) soldiers who had completed their tour of duty.
Among those present in the event were 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.
Ethiopian soldiers serving in the AU Peacekeeping mission are in charge of Sector Three, which includes the Bay, Bakool, and Gedo regions, under ATMIS Areas of Responsibility. After serving for a year, the troops are rotating out, and they received AU medals for their efforts in battling Al-Shabaab and promoting dialogue and peace 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 president of the Southwest State expressed gratitude to Ethiopia and ATMIS for their unwavering support of Somalia’s peace and stability. He pointed out that this has made it possible to include the population in state building and development.
“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
Later, as part of ATMIS Civil-Military-Cooperation (CIMIC) initiatives to promote positive relationships with civilian populations, the delegation visited the ATMIS level-2 hospital in Baidoa where they were able to observe a free medical camp for the local community. Members of the Southwest State cabinet, lawmakers from the Somali National Parliament, members of the United Kingdom Mission Support Team (UKMIST), and UN representatives based in Baidoa all attended the medal presentation ceremony.