Thursday, July 26, 2012
The Armed Forces of Malta recently deployed a three-person infantry training team consisting of members of C (Special Duties) Company to the European Union Training Mission to Somalia (EUTM Somalia) which is based in Uganda.
This is the fourth successive deployment, implying that, since mid 2009, the Armed Forces of Malta have been continuously involved and represented in the EU’s efforts to train Somali soldiers for service within Somalia’s newly established security forces.
The latest Maltese training team to deploy, comprising Warrant Officer John Grixti, Sergeant Adrian Cipriott and Lance Bombardier Angelo Gatt, follow up on the work completed previously by the Third Team, namely Warrant Officer Anthony Grech, Sergeant Alan Harvey and Lance Bombardier Kevin Chircop, who returned to Malta in May after a successful posting in Uganda that lasted over six months.
Most of the training is conducted in Bihanga Training Camp, Uganda, and involves positive interaction and a training partnership with the Ugandan People’s Defence Forces. With the third intake of trained Somali soldiers ready to return to duty in their home country, the shifting focus is now on a fresh fourth intake of trainees which is expected to arrive in Bihanga Training Camp later this month.
Unlike in the first two intakes which focused primarily on basic training levels, the last two intakes focus more intensely on junior officer and Non-Commissioned Officer command roles and skills, as well as a flourishing Train-the-Trainer programme, which hitherto has provided excellent results.
Besides the provision of trainers, for a second time, the Armed Forces of Malta have also provided a Personal Assistant to the Irish Mission Commander of EUTM Somalia, Colonel Michael Beary. Major Melvyn Haber replaced Major Christopher Attard in this role, and is scheduled to remain in theatre until around October this year.
The Personal Assistant to the Mission Commander is responsible for running his office, and coordinating his meetings and schedule. Major Christopher Attard, who received words of praise from the Mission Commander for his service with EUTM Somalia, described his experience as challenging but highly rewarding.
The soldiers trained by EUTM Somalia have proved invaluable in strengthening the Transitional Federal Government and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)’s efforts to improve security levels in Mogadishu and its surrounding districts. EUTM-Somalia remains an excellent example of the integral approach that the European Union is employing in this East African region.
On 25 Jan 2010, the European Council agreed to set up a military mission to contribute to training of Somali security forces. On 7 Apr 2010, the appointed EU Mission Commander (MCdr) of EUTM Somalia was authorised to release the activation order in order to execute the deployment of the forces and start execution of the mission.
The training of Somali security forces commenced in the beginning of May 2010, and takes place in BIHANGA Camp, Uganda where Somali forces were already being trained by Uganda. The mission is conducted in close coordination with EU partners, including the TFG of Somalia, Uganda, the African Union, the United Nations and the United States of America. The mission also facilitates the coordination of the EU’s actions with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).