today's Pick
EU to step up security involvement in SomaliaPublish Date: May 16, 2013
EU to step up security involvement in Somalia
  • mail
  • img
Ugandan soldiers, operating under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), advance towards Buur-Hakba from their former position in the town of Leego alongside members of the Somali National Army
newvision

MOGADISHU - The European Union is to move military training of Somali soldiers from Uganda to Mogadishu in a show of confidence in Somalia's growing stability after two decades of turmoil, the EU special envoy to Somalia said on Wednesday.

Western donor countries have been unwilling to deploy soldiers inside the Horn of Africa state, but instead fund the African Union's Amisom peacekeeping troops, which have driven Islamist al Shabaab rebels out of Mogadishu and many other strongholds in central and southern Somalia.

The success of Amisom, made up mostly of Ugandan, Burundian and Kenyan soldiers, has encouraged Western countries to look beyond the scars left by the deaths of U.S. and U.N. soldiers during Somalia's violent disintegration into civil war in the early 1990s, and increase their engagement.

The EU's training mission, separate from Amisom, has trained some 3,000 Somali soldiers and officers in Uganda since 2010.

Michele Cervone d'Urso, the EU envoy, said having up to 80 European military staff in Mogadishu was a "game changer".

The EU military experts will focus on providing strategic advice to Somali Defence Ministry staff while also teaching Somali trainers, who will then train their own forces.

"We can have far more impact that way," d'Urso told Reuters inside Mogadishu's heavily guarded airport, where Britain is due to open an embassy for the first time in nearly two decades.

"Having (the training mission) here shows that international European engagement inside Somalia can happen. Gone are the days where Mogadishu was one of the diplomatic black holes."

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said establishing security after 20 years of conflict was "priority number one, two and three" for his administration.

However, the bulk of Somalia's armed forces are poorly trained and badly armed, and their ranks are often infiltrated by al Shabaab, which is allied to al Qaeda. They are also seen as corrupt, and serious human rights allegations have been levelled at them, including rapes of women in refugee camps.

"There is no doubt that these (EU-trained) troops are accountable, inclusive, will respect the chain of command and, above all, will respect the human rights of the Somali citizens," Hassan told a delegation of European ambassadors in Mogadishu.

Reuters

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Japanese women are world
Japanese men''s life expectancy rose above 80 for the first time in 2013, but was still several years below that of their female counterparts....
Drug-resistant malaria spreading fast
Drug-resistant malaria parasites are now firmly established in border regions in four Southeast Asian countries, imperilling global efforts to control the disease, experts warned on Wednesday....
The surprise nomination of President Robert Mugabe''s wife to head the ruling party''s powerful women''s wing has injected new intrigue into the fight to succeed the 90-year-old strongman....
IGP: PM was misled on police arrests
It is not true that the country is unstable, on the contrary it is more stable now than before. When I was appointed Inspector General of Police, the situation in the country was more tense....
Senior finance ministry official found dead in city hotel
A senior official in the finance ministry was found dead in a hotel in a Kampala city suburb on Monday, a day after he reportedly checked in....
Men also develop breast cancer
WHILE rare, breast cancer does occur in men and is often diagnosed at a later age and stage than in women, experts say...
Should private schools and institutions be given tax exemption?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter