Kampala, Uganda 21 February 2013
The European Union Training Mission for Somalia (EUTM Somalia) has this week helped repatriate 551 newly trained Somali soldiers to their home country. Before being incorporated into the Somali army, these troops will undergo a specific re-integration module.
During the past six months the former trainees have successfully completed an intensive military training, including modules on gender issues, human rights, the law of armed conflict and international humanitarian law. The participants now make up four infantry companies, each comprising 120 trained officers, non-commissioned officers, specialists and soldiers. In addition, EUTM has trained 60 trainers who have also returned to Somalia and allow the country to have its own training capacity. The Uganda-based training programme is organised in cooperation with the Ugandan People Defence Forces and the United States.
The repatriation of the latest Somali troops marks the end of EUTM Somalia’s second mandate. To this day, EUTM Somalia has contributed to the training of 3,000 Somali soldiers, commanders and specialists (including 120 qualified trainers and staff of eight company-sized units). They amount for 25% of the Somali National Armed Forces (SNAF). These new forces are now fully involved in joint operations with AMISOM in Somalia and they have already made a significant contribution to the improvement of the security situation in Mogadishu and its surrounding areas.
EUTM Somalia training will continue in 2013 in Uganda with a particular focus on specialist and leadership training. The basic training has been handed over to Somali armed forces.
The EU has recently modified and extended the EUTM Somalia mandate until 31st March 2015. Brigadier General Gerald Aherne, from Ireland, has been appointed as new Mission Commander. During its third mandate, EUTM Somalia will re-orient its activities from the tactical training domain in Uganda to advisory, mentoring and training activities at all levels, mainly in Somalia. The refocused mandate reflects the EU’s permanent commitment to respond to the needs and challenges created by the new political and security situation in Somalia by continuing to support the development of their National Security Forces.