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U.S. Gives AU troops in Somalia Armored Vehicles to Fight Al-Shabaab

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - To boost its obligations to degrade Al-Shabaab and to protect civilians and critical infrastructure, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) has taken delivery of 24 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), donated by the United States government.

The specialized vehicles will be used by the Djiboutian contingent in joint military operations with the Somali National Army (SNA) in and around Beletweyne and other areas in the Hiraan region.

Handing over the APCs at ATMIS Headquarters on Wednesday in Mogadishu, Larry Andre, the US ambassador to Somalia, reiterated his government’s support for efforts aimed at bringing peace and stability in Somalia and the greater Horn of Africa region.

“The expression of our support, amongst other ways, is the donation of these vehicles to help protect African Union forces–in this case, Djibouti’s military contingent–as they travel the roads of Somalia which too often will be trapped by dangerous explosive devices put there to harm those who only seek to help Somalia,” said Andre.

“The delivery of the 24 APC’s will see Somalia enhance the fight against violent extremists. We know that this equipment will make a difference by increasing pressure on Al-Shabaab. This is in line with the plans of His Excellency President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud and is in keeping with the Somalia Transition Plan, which will see a steady increase in handover responsibilities to Somalia’s security forces,” he added.

Receiving the vehicles on behalf of the mission was the Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC), Ms. Fiona Lortan, who noted that the military hardware had arrived at an opportune time as ATMIS was reconfiguring its troops and equipment.

“On behalf of the African Union, its membership, and all the ATMIS Troop Contributing Countries (TCC’s), including Djibouti and all the others since ATMIS is a collective effort of solidarity and support to the Somalia people, I would like to thank the government and the people of the United States for the generosity and steadfastness in supporting our presence in Somalia,” said Lortan.

Over the years, Al Shabaab has engaged AU troops and SNA soldiers in asymmetric warfare, especially through the laying of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) on main supply routes and built-up locations.

The donated vehicles are going to enhance ATMIS’ counter IED capability and aid the troops in protecting civilians, critical infrastructure, and sensitive sites, facilitating the provision of humanitarian supplies, and supporting stabilization activities.

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