The UK Government has officially opened a security training centre in Baidoa to support the Somali National Army (SNA).
The security training centre is part of the UK’s commitment to promoting long-term stability and security in Somalia. It is funded by the British Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF).
With the capacity to train up to 120 SNA soldiers at a time, the new centre will help the army improve the quality of its training.
British Ambassador to Somalia Ben Fender said: “The UK is one of the major international providers of support to the Somali National Army. We’re playing a central part in helping the SNA conduct current operations in Lower Shabelle, including through giving practical help to the newly recovered areas, like new housing for Sabid community.
“In Baidoa, the Somali Forces we are supporting have been building defensive positions to make the approach roads into the city more secure. This is having a direct impact on the number of attacks in the city and the security of the surrounding area.”
Last month, the SNA in a joint operation with African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) liberated the strategic town of Bariire in Lower Shabelle region.
The UK has been providing training to SNA personnel since January 2017.
So far, training programmes have covered areas such as medical skills, leadership, equipment care, logistics and human rights.
Somalia Defence Minister Hassan Ali Mohammed said: “Security and stability is crucial for the future of Somalia. Al Shabaab is a threat to the national security and supporting the army is vital in undermining the extremist efforts.
“I would like to thank the UK Government for their continuous support to Somalia. To the SNA you have an important role to play in securing the country, take advantage of the trainings provided to better yourself and to secure the country.”
The African nation is battling terrorism perpetrated by extremist group al-Shabaab.
US Special Operations Forces are also training an elite Somali army unit to achieve the goal of defeating militants.
In April, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order extending US military commitment in Somalia for another year.