Over one hundred Somali army soldiers graduated from the UK funded training camp in South West Wednesday.
According to a statement from the British embassy in Mogadishu, 134 soldiers completed the two months training which covered field-craft, leadership, human rights, first-aid treatment, patrolling and the delivery of defensive operations. The training, the embassy said, also aimed at enhancing the soldiers’ current capabilities.
Speaking during the pass-out ceremony, UK ambassador to Somalia Ben Fender said the skills acquired by the soldiers will go a long way in bolstering Somalia’s long-term security. He reiterated his country’s commitment to building Somalia’s security architecture.
“The UK is committed to helping build the capacity of the Somali National Army and Somali Police Force so that you will eventually be able to assume full responsibility for the nation’s security,” ambassador Fender said.
Fender said separately in a tweet the training academy was expected to train a full company in 8-12 weeks and train a whole barracks for 450 by next May.
The Commander of British Forces in Somalia, Colonel JL Baynham noted the training was a joint Somalia and British project with the objective of contributing towards peace in Somalia.
‘Today is an important day for this joint Somali and British project and I congratulate all those who have made this possible and in particular, the 134 soldiers who stand before us today on this parade,” said Baynham. “It is their professionalism and dedication that has made this possible and it is they who will help ensure the Somali people will experience peace and prosperity in the years to come’.
Since January 2017, the UK has delivered training to over 900 Somali National Army soldiers,” the statement read in part. “The training has focused on medical skills, leadership development, equipment care, logistics and the rule of law.”
South West state president Abdiazia Laftagareen thanked the UK government’s support and urged the soldiers to out into good use the skills acquired.
“I urge all of you to work hard and protect our country, please implement the lessons you have learnt during the training and pass on the knowledge to your colleagues. I would also like to thank the UK government for providing support to the Somali people,” the South-West leader said.