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Somali troops complete training


Thursday, September 01, 2011

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'training of Somali troops is part of comprehensive engagement of the EUROPEAN UNION in Somalia and in the Horn of Africa to deal with the Somali crisis'

A total of 900 Somali troops on Wednesday completed their six month training here in the southwestern Ugandan district of Ibanda.

The troops were trained in various disciplines like counter terrorism and urban warfare.

Speaking at the pass out of the troops, Roberto Ridolfi, the head of the European Union delegation here said that stability of Somalia is critical to the country and the entire East African region.

Ridolfi said without peace and security, progress and sustainable development are not possible in Somalia and the entire African continent.

"Peace and security in Africa matters to the EU as well as to Africans.

"Without peace and security, growth and sustainable development are not possible, neither in Somalia nor in the entire Eastern Africa region," said Ridolfi.

The first intake of 1,000 Somali troops trained by EU and Uganda were passed out last year here at Bihanga Training Camp, marking the EU determination and concrete engagement in the stabilization of Somalia

He said the training of the Somali troops is not an isolated initiative but part of the comprehensive engagement of the EU in Somalia and in the Horn of Africa to deal with the Somali crisis, which has political, security, developmental and humanitarian dimensions.

"Their return (trained Somali troops) to Mogadishu will significantly reinforce the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and will one day allow for the return of Ugandan and Burundian troops home," said Ridolfi.

"We strongly believe that the results of the EUTM training will contribute to more stable conditions to deliver aid and bring development to the Somali population," he said.

He said the situation in Somalia remains fragile exacerbated by the humanitarian catastrophe resulting from the severe drought and famine.

Ridolfi urged other African countries that have promised to deploy troops in the country fulfill their promises.

"We welcome all other African countries that have promised to send their troops to beef up AMISOM," said Ridolfi.

Chrispus Kiyonga, Uganda’s defense minister, said the East African country will continue to stand side by side with Somalia in a bid to pacify and stabilize the country.

"We shall continue to stand with our brothers. This is African problem. We can’t let them down," said Kiyonga.