Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Somalia's allies throughout East Africa and the Middle East are
committing to help rebuild Somali military institutions through monetary
and technical support.
Egypt is the latest regional country that has promised to help
rebuild Somalia's military infrastructure, which was destroyed by two
decades of civil war.
"The new Somali government is determined to rehabilitate the army's
military facilities and to rebuild the armed forces ... based on modern
and advanced foundations and with the support of friendly countries,
including Egypt, that have historically contributed towards supporting
the Somali armed forces," said Admiral Farah Qare, commander of the
Somali naval forces.
Qare headed a government committee that received a high-level
delegation from the Egyptian Ministry of Defence on June 4th in
"The facilities that the Egyptians intend to help us rebuild are
several of the army's military bases and hospitals in addition to the
Somali Ministry of Defence's headquarters and offices," he told Sabahi,
adding that the process would begin in the next few months.
Retired Colonel Mohamed Ali Moalim, who served in the Somali national
army under former President Mohamed Siad Barre, said the United Nations
arms embargo against Somalia was an obstacle for the government and
hindered the support needed to develop an effective national army.
"The decision of the UN Security Council to ease the weapons embargo
on Somalia for a year has encouraged friendly countries and those
interested in the Somali issue to help the Somali government in its
efforts to rebuild its national army," Moalim told Sabahi.
The Somali army needs to be completely overhauled to take on its full responsibilities, Moalim said.
"Establishing a strong army capable of performing its security duties
and extending the state's control throughout the country is key to
establishing peace in Somalia," he said. "New leaders are struggling to
build an effective national army in addition to working towards
integrating members of armed militias within the ranks of the regular
The Ministry of Defence said it began the difficult task of
overhauling the military in February with the evacuation of squatters
and internally displaced persons from military buildings and hospitals.
"The Somali Ministry of Defence has managed
to evacuate several military institutions, including the military
airport adjacent to Mogadishu International Airport, the officers'
recreational centre Circolo Ufficiale in Howlwadag district and the
military hospital in Hodan," said Ahmed Hussein, deputy assistant for
infrastructure at the Ministry of Defence.
Egypt, Turkey, Sudan and Djibouti have promised to contribute towards
rehabilitating military institutions, said Hussein, who also sits on a
committee that supervises evacuations of military property.
Deputy Minister of Public Works and Reconstruction Nadifo Mohamed
Osman said there has been renewed Arab interest in supporting Somalia.
"Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Sudan, the United Arab
Emirates, Kuwait and other countries have made huge commitments, such as
funding reconstruction projects in Somalia and training members of the
Somali armed forces as part of the framework of efforts to support the
new Somali government," she told Sabahi.
During the Arab League Summit in March, member states voiced support
for providing political, financial and technical aid to Somalia to help
the new government continue political progress, reinforce security and
support reconstruction efforts.
"Iraq has pledged $15 million to implement several construction
projects in Somalia that include rehabilitating several public service
institutions and headquarters of the Ministry of Public Works and
Reconstruction, as well as building a training institute and hospital
for mental illness in Mogadishu," Osman said.