A military training institution which the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has occupied for more than a decade will be handed over to the Somali National Army at the end of this month.
Renovation works at the Jaalle Siyaad Military Academy, which has been ongoing since December last year have been completed to pave way for the handover of the facility.
The announcement was made by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, during an inspection tour of the military academy in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, yesterday.
“We are satisfied with the rehabilitation works and we believe proper arrangements have been made for an effective handover to take place by the end of this month,” Ambassador Madeira, who was accompanied by senior AMISOM and federal government officials, said.
Jaalle Siyaad Military Academy holds a special place in the country’s history, having served as a key Forward Operation Base for AU troops during the fierce war against Al-Shabaab militants that led to the liberation of Mogadishu, in 2011.
The Burundi troops who have been occupying the academy have since relocated to Jowhar, the administrative capital of Somalia’s youngest state, HirShabelle.
Ambassador Madeira noted that a number of assets put up by AMISOM for use by the Burundi contingent will also be donated to the federal government.
“The prefabricated buildings, the generators, the water points, and the water treatment plants, will all be handed over to the federal government to enable it to continue improving this facility and return it to its former glory,” the SRCC said.
The State Minister of Defence, Mohamed Ali Haga, who spoke on behalf of the federal government, thanked AMISOM for continued support for Somalia’s stabilization process.
“I particularly want to thank the Burundi soldiers who have made the handover possible and sacrificed their lives to help restore stability in Somalia,” Mr Haga noted.
AMISOM Sector Five Commander Brig. Leonidas Niyungeko reiterated Burundi contingent’s commitment to helping AMISOM and the federal government restore lasting peace and stability in Somalia.
The academy will be the third facility to be handed over to the federal government, after Somali National University in July 2017 and Mogadishu National Stadium in August last year.
The United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) spearheaded the rehabilitation works, which involved upgrading prefabricated buildings, a hospital, a water treatment plant and power plants.