Some 197 Somali police officers have completed a three-month intensive training to step up security in a regional state in Somalia, the African Union Mission (AMISOM) said on Friday.
The recruits from HirShabelle State will help in policing, which is crucial in maintaining law and order and protection of life and property in the region, the AU mission said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
Rex Dundun, the acting AMISOM police commissioner said that it was important to build the capacity of the Somali Police Force to enable them to carry out effective policing and patrols as part of the Somalia Transition Plan.
“The officers trained here are very disciplined, dedicated, and you can see from the personnel parade, they are performing exceptionally well. We are looking forward to this group of officers taking over the internal security policing in HirShabelle state,” said Dundun.
He said the recruits were enlisted into the police following a comprehensive process that was overseen by a joint committee to ensure equal representation of the various clans living in Hiran and Middle Shabelle regions.
HirShabelle plans to recruit 800 police officers, with nearly 400 recruited, trained and deployed so far.
The AU mission has developed a conditions-based transition plan, to transfer the national security responsibility from the AU troops to the Somali security forces guided by the rule of law and respect for human rights ahead of AMISOM’s anticipated exit in 2021.
Hassan Dhiisow Hassan, HirShabelle police commissioner, said the new police recruits would soon carry out operations to re-open and secure main supply routes in the agricultural-rich region.
“These officers will serve the people of HirShabelle by protecting lives and property. They will also clear the main supply routes between Mogadishu, Jowhar and Bula-burde and work jointly with the Somali National Army stationed in those areas,” said Dhiisow.
The move comes after the UN Security Council authorized a gradual troop reduction amid transition of security responsibility to Somali National Security Forces.
The AU mission says it has already withdrawn 1,000 troops and more withdrawals are expected in 2019.