An official of the African Union’s troops (AMISOM) says the group has stepped up training efforts of Somali government soldiers to combat daily attacks by hard-line Islamic insurgents.
AMISOM’s spokesman Major Barigye Ba-Huko says Somalis are responding positively to the training.
“The underlining principle is that one day, one time, AMISOM would have to leave this country. When AMISOM leaves, the idea is that Somalia should have its own people who have been trained, who have been equipped to run the affairs of this country after we have accomplished our mission…It will be very important to have a national army, and we are making an effort towards that. So that is how far we have gotten with that,” he said.
Mandated by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, AMISOM has been tasked to support the Somali transitional governmental structures implement a national security plan, train the Somali security forces, and to assist in creating a secure environment for the delivery of humanitarian aid.
Ba-Huko said Somalis are joining the newly formed army.
“The population is generally tired of war, and they are looking for any way out. So whenever there is an opportunity, sometime you may say you are looking for 500 people, 200 people, but you will get 700. So I think usually the response is the right one,” Ba-Huko said.
Meanwhile, Shaykh Yusuf Muhammad Siyad, the Somali minster of state for defense is quoted as saying that the transitional government is conducting investigations on ships that have been importing illegal arms in Kismaayo.
Siyad claims opposition groups fighting the government have been getting arms and other military equipment from foreign countries including Eritrea and Yemen - - a charge Eritrea denies.
Ba-Huko said AMISOM will support the government’s investigations.
“AMISOM will help the transitional government in all ways possible, and if that is one of the ways they require us to help them, we will. As you know, part of our responsibility is to support the transitional federal institutions and so if that support can also be translated to mean helping them in investigations that is okay,” Ba-Huko said.