AU opens military training facility to boost security in Somalia

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Mogadishu  –   The Africa Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has opened a new military training facility for the soldiers as part of efforts to stabilize the Horn of Africa nation.

Francisco Madeira, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, said on Wednesday in Mogadishu that the facility would be used to train the Somali National Army (SNA) on urban warfare in Mogadishu.

He said the facility, whose construction began in December last year, consists of a collection of buildings that mimic an urban or a built-up fighting area.

Madeira who toured the training centre said he was impressed by the ongoing progress of construction works, aimed at expanding the centre.

He said training of Somali military personnel is a key part of AMISOM’s mandate and is essential in helping achieve the exit strategy for AUJ troops.

The AU envoy also hailed the European Union and United Nations for supporting military training programmes in Jazeera.

“Without trained Somali soldiers and officers, we will have a lot of difficulties to leave you without an army that will be capable of securing the Government, the administration, the population and the infrastructure.

“So, that puts a dilemma on us. You need to train well and train quickly and be motivated to continue the work that we have been able to do,” he said.

Maj. Gen. Mohammedesha Zeyinu, AMISOM Acting Force Commander, said fighting in built-up areas is peculiar and requires specialised training.

“Such kind of training facility is very important to train and build our soldiers physically, mentally, and psychologically in order to enable them to overcome different manmade and natural obstacles that they may find in built-up areas,” Zeyinu said.

He said the Al-Shabaab militants have been going for soft targets in urban areas and both AMISOM and the Somali government have vowed to work together to defeat to the asymmetrical warfare adopted by Al- Shabaab.