AU approves training for maritime, air defence fighters.
Addis Ababa (Alshahid) – The African Union’s Peace and Security Department approved plans to train more peacekeepers serving in its mission in Somalia on maritime security and air defence capabilities to better protect war-ravaged Somalia.
Somali is the hotbed of hijacking of marine vessels and a long-time target of external Islamist jihadists, have recently suffered a spate of bombings, with the latest of such attack leading to the killing of three ministers at a graduation ceremony in Mogadishu.
African countries contributing troops to the African Union Peacekeeping Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) held a strategy meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where they agreed that the Mission still lacked basic elements such as air defence.
“The meeting observed that there exist operational limitations to the performance of AMISOM in the areas of maritime and air defence capabilities, and called for assistance in building the Mission’s capabilities in this respect,” an AU statement said Tuesday.
Djibouti, Somalia’s neighbour, is among the few countries in the Horn of Africa region to pledge peacekeepers to the overstretched AMISOM, which has been a target of attacks, planned by Islamic groups seeking to takeover full control of Somalia.
The Islamist elements have been staging their fights for the control of the Southern Port of Kismayu and recently edged closer to the Kenyan border, where the Islamist controlled fighters took control of a key border crossing point Southwards.
The AU meeting, chaired by the Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ramtane Lamamra, explained that the continued inability of AMISOM to reach its authorised strength continues to be a serious challenge.
Lamamra added that the recruitment and training programme of Somali Security Forces should be given more impetus in order to be able to cope effectively with the security situation there.
The ministers and representatives of the troop contributing countries at the meeting, including Burundi, Uganda and Djibouti, also emphasized the need to adequately train, equip, sustain and retain Somali Security Forces in the current circumstances.
They proposed that a study of new requirements necessary for AMISOM to fulfil its objectives, including the added aspect of training of Somali Security Forces, be carried out.
Meanwhile, the African countries that have contributed troops and equipment to the AMISOM have been compensated for the equipment they contributed.
Source: Nigerian Compass