Uganda advises donors on Somalia
By Raymond Baguma
February 3, 2012 Markacadeey
asked donors supporting the reconstruction of Somalia to
work in partnership with each other instead of competing, if
the challenges facing the devastated Horn of Africa nation
are to be addressed.
The minister of defence Dr.
Crispus Kiyonga was at the close of the week officiating at
the pass out of 551recruits into the Somali National Army
(SNA) at Bihanga Military Training School in the western
Uganda district of Ibanda.
The Somali soldiers were
trained by the UPDF and the European Union Training Mission
(EUTM). Also during the same event, over 260 Uganda recruits
Kiyonga said that the European
Union Training Mission (EUTM) – comprised of 12 European
countries with Serbia – is a good example of European
countries working in partnership to support Somalia through
training of the national army.
The Somalis are
expected to return home and constitute part of the SNA
infantry deployed to fight the Al-shabaab Islamist
Under the EUTM, about 3,000 Somali
soldiers have been trained in Bihanga since 2010. However,
effective this year, training will be conducted within
Somalia by EUTM.
Minister Kiyonga said Somalia needs
a strong army in order to protect and defend the country as
well as the economy. He also called on the recruits to
remain united regardless of their different clans.
Uganda presently has close to 7,000 troops in Somalia
serving under AMISOM to fight the al-Qaeda-affiliated
Somalia, which has had no
effective government since 1992, is in the process of
rebuilding and restoring effective administration, having
recently conducted national elections.
defence minister said that Africans should be left to solve
their problems on their own terms, while donors offer
support to the African efforts.
The Somali deputy
minister for defence, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud hailed Uganda
for its role in restoring stability in Somalia, and said
that the Somali people will never forget the sacrifice by
EU head of delegation to Uganda,
Roberto Ridolfi said that the EU adopted a decision earlier
in January to prolong and expand the EUTM mandate beyond
training of the Somali National Army (SNA).
mission will also advice and mentor Somali authorities
within the ministry of defence, the military staff, and
contribute to capacity and institutional building. The
mission will progressively move to Mogadishu [the capital]
in order to have a greater impact on the security sector
development,” Ridolfi said.
Gen. Katumba Wamala, the
UPDF commander of Land Forces said that Uganda is willing to
continue contributing UPDF military instructors to train and
work with the Somali National Army even when the training
mission relocates from Uganda to Mogadishu.
at the pass out were the new EUTM commander Brig. Gen.
Gerald Aherne and outgoing mission commander Col. Michael
Beary, the Somali ambassador to Uganda and Col. Chris Bossa
who is the commandant of Bihanga Military Training School.
Gen. Katumba challenged the Somali soldiers to show
respect to civilians, adding that it is the greatest arsenal
that the UPDF has used.
“Respect the nationals, then
you will be a national army,” he advised.