Ethiopian forces Takes Training Role in Southern Somalia as Threats Grow

Ethiopian forces

Mogadishu (HAN) March 8th, 2014 – A view dozen Somalia National Army forces including women soldiers took part in a 3 day human rights, civilian protection, gender violence and sexual abuse, international humanitarian law and AMISOM mandate and military discipline training conducted by Ethiopian peacekeepers in Baidoa town, Southern Somalia.

This is the first of such specialized training conducted by AMISOM peacekeepers in sector 3 for the government soldiers in Baidoa in a bid to improve their knowledge and understanding of the importance of protecting human rights, civilians as well as gender related issues.

The training was held at the headquarters of the Somalia National Army adjacent to the main AMISOM base in Baidoa. The training was conducted by Major Girma Wendimu, Sector 3 Training Center Commander who is an experienced ENDF trainer who has conducted similar trainings for Ethiopian peacekeepers serving in Somalia. He was assisted by Captain Adan Mohamed, a Somalia Ethiopian who served as his translator and Lieutenant Dems Dres.

“We trained them about AMISOM and AU mandate, human rights, international humanitarian law, civilian protection, gender issues and sexual abuse and about media and messaging. This will be a continuous training. The purpose of this training is to educate the Somalia national army about AMISOM mandate and also about human rights, civilian protection, gender issues and sexual abuse so that they know what is expected of them and also to give them the necessary knowledge to protect their country and people,” Major Girma said.

The Somalia National Army was formed in 1960 and rose to become a strong military force in Africa. In 1991, the fall of the central government brought about the collapse of all state institutions in Somalia including the military. Since then, Somalia has been struggling to revive its military with the help of the international community and AMISOM is mandated to support and train the Somalia Army.

The Somalia National Army (SNA) Sector 3 Commander General Ibrahim Yarow welcomed the latest AMISOM initiative to train the Somalia forces and said the training will go a long way in helping the Somalia forces in the sector to learn about human rights, civilian protection and gender violence. AMISOM ENDF peacekeepers seen training SNA soldiers in Baidoa.

“We are very grateful to our Ethiopian AMISOM brothers for extending this important training to our soldiers. The trained soldiers will now know how to handle the public as well as will respect peoples dignity and human rights. We want to request for many more similar training to help professionalize our forces many of who have never had such a training opportunity before,” The general said. Some of the trainees spoke positively about the training.

Nur Salad Ali, 54 years, who rejoined the army in 2006 after the collapse of the central government in 1991 said this was the first time for him to attend such a specialized training in Baidoa and that he was eager to learn.

“We want to benefit from the training and so we are ready to learn. We have never been trained before on human rights, gender issues and civilian protection. This is our first time and we hope the train will make us better soldier who serve our people and country,” added Nur, who said is glad to learn at his old age.

The training was also attended by women soldiers who make up a small fraction of the overall number of Somalia forces in Baidoa with only 30 women soldiers in the 60th battalion based in Baidoa. SNA soldiers seen during the AMISOM training. SNA soldiers seen during the AMISOM training.

Fatuma Adan Abdulahi, 31, one of the women soldier trainees said such training provided by AMISOM was important to give the women in the Somalia army knowledge about important issues that affect the population and how to tackle them especially on human rights, civilian protection and gender based violence and sexual abuse.

“Four women soldiers attended this workshop. Just like the men we are ready and eager to learn and that is why we attended this training offered by Ethiopian peacekeepers. They taught us about human rights, gender based violence and sexual abuse among others and are very happy we participated because we now know how to handles such challenges and what to do,” Fatuma said with a timid smile.

Source: The Ethiopian AMISOM mission Mandate in Somalia

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