By Abdulkarim Ssengendo
New Vision – Uganda
Over 120 Somalis have been passed out after successfully completing a four months military police training conducted by European Union (EU) at Bihanga military barrack training camp in Kamwenge district.
The training also skilled trainees with civil military relations and company commanders force skills that will enable them protect VIPs, control of administration, build a good relationship between the army and population, crowd control among others.
The fifth intake brings the number of Somali soldiers trained by European Union team at Bihanga Camp to 3400 since the training began in 2010.
Among them, 125 trained officers will now be able to reinforce the capacity of the Somali armed forces guaranteeing security and extension of prosperity of Somalia.
The Pass out which was special from the past trainings was presided over by the Somali Ambassador to Uganda, Ahmed Sayid Sheikh Dahir.
UPDF’s Commander of Land Forces (CLF) Maj.Gen David Muhozi, EU Acting Ambassador to Uganda AnnaCarin Platon and EU Commander Brig.Gen.Gerald Aherne also witnessed the Pass out.
Maj Gen Muhozi said the four months training was the 2nd last before EU winds up conducting Somali training in Uganda and re-locates to Somalia.
He challenged the trainees to use the skills attained and reinforce the army structures in their country and urged them to be pro-people when they go back to Somalia.
Brig.Gen Aherne asked them to implement discipline and regulation in the Somali army and ensure they respect human rights.
He also noted that President of Somalia relies on them and urged them to display special commitment and use the army as a tool to work for the Somali people.
The ambassador meanwhile was convinced the skills the soldiers acquired from Uganda are paramount to bringing peace and stability and creating good military-people relations in order to overcome Al-Shabab.
“What you have been trained shouldn’t be for graduation purposes only but go and work for the people. Use the skills to stop people from destroying public property,” Sayid told them.
He challenged them to persevere and work in all conditions in order to transform the country. He noted that all developed countries managed to develop because their national army persevered in whatever conditions.
“When Uganda started the liberation struggle, soldiers spent five years without being paid but now Uganda has reached the level of supporting other countries like Somalia,” Sayid added.
Platon (EU Acting Ambassador to Uganda) informed the congregation that Somali National Armed Forces (SNAF) is now in the process of transforming into a highly professional and disciplined force, serving the Somali people.
She said stabilising Somalia was a priority for the EU and their mission will also deliver advice and mentoring of Somali authority within the ministry of defense and the military staff, hence contributing to capacity and institution building.
She acknowledged the contribution of EU member states missions for theIR contribution and their commitment, and paid particular tribute to President Museveni, UPDF and people of Uganda for its leadership and contribution to AMISOM.
She noted that the development in Somalia is an example of African Solutions for African problems which EU is proud to support. She added that they are committed to work together, address global challenges and improve global capacity to respond to crises.