In renewed efforts to boost the Somali National Army, members of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have completed a training program for the first inter-clan, light infantry company at its training facilities at Jazeera Camp in the capital Mogadishu.
Soldiers drawn from different commands in Somalia have undergone a six months rigorous training from basic rifle marksmanship to moving as a group in formation during a planned attack.
The program started with about 700 recruits but with the intensity of the training, only 130 men and women made it to the final stage.
Colonel Mustafa Mursal Mohamed, Chief Training Officer of the Somali National Army says such trainings are very important and contribute to the overall objective, of having an empowered force, able to take charge of the country’s security.
“You cannot imagine how happy I am today. The boys displayed an exemplary level of coordination and control on the battlefield. It is important that the soldier looks out for himself while also defeating the enemy. Today you saw the perfect synchronization of the command and execution. It was very evident today and this is what is required of the army,” says Colonel Mustafa Mursal Mohamed.
AMISOM conducts regular training of the Somali National Forces, as part of its exit strategy.
Captain Billy Dominc Logwee, the AMISOM training Coordinator reiterates that the African Union force is only in Somalia for a limited period and is working towards ensuring that their Somali counterparts are well empowered.
“At the end of the day we would want to have the Somali army trained because we are not going to be here all the time, there will come a time when we will have to rotate out or to transition from the operations in Somalia and say enough is enough, we have trained enough Somalis and they will be able to carry out their own operations and handle their country’s affairs,” he says.
The newly trained soldiers now hope to utilize their skills in protection of their country and imparting the acquire knowledge to other comrades.
“We are ready to defend the country, our people and our religion. Our soldiers are ready to counter anyone that threatens the people and the government,” asserts 2nd Lt. Yassin, Newly Training Somali National Army Soldier.
The Somali National Security Forces have been strained by two decades of war and insurgency by the al Shabaab and are now recovering, with an extensive capacity building drive on going.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 2124 of 2013 calls for strategic strengthening of the Somali National Security Forces through AMISOM and its partners. This includes mapping the structure of the forces, establishing clear command and control systems, implementing appropriate procedures, codes of conduct and training, among others.
AMISOM’s new mandate provides for support to the Somali National Army when on joint operations with the AU force. The support will primarily comprise logistics, which include fuel, food and medevac.