Last Batch of Somali Soldiers Pass Out at Bihanga

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In short
A total of 3.600 soldiers have been trained since April 2010 in specialized military intelligence, combat engineering, civil military and company leadership.

The last batch of Somali government soldiers trained jointly by the Uganda People’s Defense Force and the European Union Training Mission in Somalia has passed out.  1300 soldiers passed out on Wednesday at Bihanga army training camp in Ibanda district. A total of 3.600 soldiers have been trained since April 2010 in specialized military intelligence, combat engineering, civil military and company leadership.

EUTM is comprised of key international partners of Somalia including the United Nations, the African union mission in Somalia AMISOM and the U.S Government. Brigadier General Gerald Aherve, the EUTM commandant says they have been forced to relocate the training to Jazeera in Mogadishu to cut back on costs.

Gerald also says now that peace has been restored in the volatile Mogadishu it is paramount for the Somali federal government to host the training camp for personnel’s who are going to form the new Somali national armed forces. He says the main challenge with Somali national armed forces is building indigenous Somali military capacity.

Gerald discloses that while in Jazeera the EU trainers will focus on increasing the capacity to train more Somalis and mentoring the Somali forces as they deliver basic training to the national armed forces.

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The Somali federal government has welcomed the move by EU to relocate the training camp to Somalia. Saidi Ahmed Sheik, the Somalia ambassador to Uganda and Brigadier general Abdirizack Khalif Elm, the deputy commander of the defense forces of Somalia say the relocation will help the federal Government to monitor trainees as they are trained and deployed.

Ahmed Sheik says the Somali national army trainees have been facing a number of challenges in Uganda ranging from communication barriers to sickness as a result of weather changes. The Uganda people’s defense forces UPDF who have been hosting the training camp in Bihanga are also happy with the relocation. General David Muhoozi, the commander of the UPDF ground forces says training the Somali troops in their own country will pave way for UPDF soldiers to pull out of Mogadishu.

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