Officers from the Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali national security forces have completed a five-day training on the importance of civil-military cooperation in peace support operations.
The training, organized to enhance participants’ knowledge on civil-military cooperation (CIMIC) and peacekeeping, was attended by officers from the contingents of Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda as well as those from the Somali National Army (SNA), Danab Special Forces and National Intelligence Security Agency (NISA).
The participants were taken through Somalia country-specific humanitarian and civil-military guidelines – which specify how AMISOM and humanitarian actors should relate in conflict areas as well as protection of civilian non-combatants
Also covered were topics focusing on the roles and responsibilities of civil-military cooperation (CIMIC) officers, how to carry out community needs assessments in liberated areas, initiation and management of Quick Impact Projects and prevention of sexual and gender-based violence among others.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, yesterday, Brig. Gen. Kitila Bulti Tadesse, the AMISOM Military Chief of Staff, said the training was crucial for the success of operations undertaken by AMISOM and Somali national security forces against Al-Shabaab extremists.
Brig. Gen. Tadesse noted that CIMIC officers can play a role in denying Al-Shabaab extremists the opportunity to misinform and mislead local populations by being the link between civilians and security forces in the fight against Al-Shabaab.
“You have been equipped with knowledge that we strongly believe can deliver lasting peace in Somalia. As AMISOM, lasting peace for Somalia is our aim and that is the reason why we are here, to help the people of Somalia achieve peace and security,” noted Brig. Gen. Tadesse.
Mary Shockledge, the Chargé d’Affaires at the British Embassy in Somalia, reiterated Britain’s continued support for AMISOM and the Somali national security forces in their efforts to secure Somalia.
Ms. Shockledge cited the recent announcement by the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, during her visit to Nairobi, that her government will provide an additional £7 million worth of support to AMISOM as proof of Britain’s commitment to peace and security in Somalia.
Maslah Badal Omar, an SNA officer from Jubbaland State, thanked AMISOM and the British government for organizing the training, adding that he will apply the knowledge acquired in his military duties.
Mr. Omar’s sentiments were echoed by Lt. Asha Isse Abdulle, a CIMIC officer with the SNA, who described the training as a refresher course that added on the knowledge she had earlier acquired about civil-military cooperation.
Lt. Elizabeth Akol, a CIMIC officer with AMISOM’s Ugandan contingent, said she will share the knowledge gained with her colleagues mainly improving relations with local communities and protection of civilian non-combatants.
The training was supported by the United Kingdom Mission Support Team (UKMST) in Somalia and conducted by trainers from the AMISOM Force Headquarters and various United Nations agencies.