For the first time in many years, a police academy has opened in Somalia. It?s located in Armo, in the northeastern part of the country. The UN Development Program, the UNDP, has developed the training course for the police cadets.

Sandra Macharia is a spokesperson for UNDP Somalia. From Nairobi, she spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the importance of the new Somali police academy.

?The police academy at Armo is a huge occasion for Somalia because it?s the first academy that has been built in decades in Somalia. It?s an opportunity for the police to get some training. The training is community policing training. So it?s all about basic police training, community policing, non-violent disarmament, self-defense, that kind of thing,? she says.

The Armo community came forward and offered land free of charge for the building and helped with the utilities. As for the number of cadets, Ms. Macharia says, ?The initial intake at the moment is for 150. We have 130 who are male and 20 of those are female, which is great news for us.?

Asked whether there?s concern that clan leaders would interfere with the new police academy, the UNDP Somalia spokesperson says, ?We are hoping that this police training and the officers will be clan-blind. That?s what we?re looking towards. Because the elders at Armo?they themselves have said that this is something that they think will help in the peace process. Now if the cadets come here and get they trained, they are not being trained according to clan or anything like that. It?s merit and you go out and get posted where the government wants you to be posted.?