A high-level delegation from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) led by Acting Force Commander Brig. Gen. Peter Omola, has visited Bal’ad Forward Operating Base (FOB) to assess what will be needed to elevate it into a Battalion logistics base.
The FOB, located in the Hirshabelle State, is now the logistics base for the Burundi contingent who exited and handed over Maslah FOB to the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) on January 21, 2023.
When fully completed, the Bal’ad FOB will serve both ATMIS Burundi forces and the Somali National Army (SNA) in the Hirshabelle State.
The delegation visited the FOB early last week and was received by the ATMIS Sector 5 Commander, Brig. Gen Jean Claude Niyiburana. They also held discussions with community elders led by the Bal’ad District Commissioner, Kassim Ali Nur and the Ugas, Mohamed Hussein.
“Our visit today is to assess the next steps in terms of constructing defense positions in Bal’ad and to engage with local leaders and the civilian population to identify areas of mutual cooperation,” said the ATMIS Acting Force Commander, Brig. Gen. Omola.
The Acting Force Commander thanked the Burundian forces stationed in Bal’ad for strengthening the security of the FOB since their relocation from Maslah on January 15, 2023. He assured the soldiers that the conditions of the FOB would be improved to enable them to operate effectively.
The Bal’ad District Commissioner (DC), Kassim Ali Nur, welcomed the team and spoke about several issues including the ongoing fight against Al-Shabaab militants.
“We discussed how we can coordinate on security, how the forces and the local administration can work together, how to improve relations between the public and the security forces in the fight against terrorists and how to fast-track the ongoing expansion of the base,” said the District Commissioner.
The Ugas for Bal’ad, Mohamed Hussein, thanked ATMIS for choosing the district as one of its key logistical hubs and pledged their commitment to work closely with the forces to improve security in the region.
“We welcome the delegation that visited us today, the forces who were here before as well as the new forces who relocated from Maslah. We had good working relations with the previous forces, and we will continue to support the new forces because they are our neighbours,” said Ugas Mohamed Hussein.
The delegation included an Advisor to SRCC and Head of Mission, Maj. Gen. Fidza Dludlu; Military Chief of Staff, Brig. Gen. Teggegn Kindu Gezu; Civil Engineer, Andrew Alele; Chief Force Engineer, Col. Davidson Nwogu; Civil Affairs Officer and Team Coordinator in Sector 5, Christopher Aria; Senior Communications Officer, Gifty Bingley; and the Joint Support Operations Centre (JSOC) Officer, Maxmillian Oketch,
Located approximately 39km north of Mogadishu along the main Mogadishu-Jowhar Road, Bal’ad is a strategic town noted for agriculture, livestock, and marine resources.