Ethiopian troops stationed in Ma Dhama camp in Northern Kismayo have reportedly withdrawn. The troops leaving the area were part of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) peacekeeping mission.
Halqabsi, a Somali news source, reported, “The handover of the Ma Dhama camp to Somali security forces was managed by Gen. Yusuf Hussein Osman Dhumal of Jubaland and Gen. Ali Mohamed Mohamud Bagmadow of the Somali National Army, facilitated by ATMIS’s Gen. Lucas Kutto.”
In addition to the peacekeeping mission, Thousands of Ethiopian troops are in Somalia as part of a bilateral arrangement between the governments of Ethiopia and Somalia. However, it is unclear if Ethiopia is withdrawing them in light of the recent developments.
The relationship between the two countries deteriorated after Ethiopia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Somaliland to gain sea access in exchange for a stake in Ethiopian Airlines – among other arrangements.
The withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Kismayo comes amid growing tension between the two countries. However, it is part of “the ongoing ATMIS strategy to gradually transfer security responsibilities to Somali forces, aiming for a complete handover by year’s end,” as reported by Halqabsi.
The Ethiopian Defense Force has not released a statement regarding the withdrawal at this writing.
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