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November 18, 2018

Reduce Amisom troops in Somalia, says police

Amisom troops from Uganda UPDF disembark from a military track during an operation in Mogadishu town. Photo/Monicah Mwangi
Amisom troops from Uganda UPDF disembark from a military track during an operation in Mogadishu town. Photo/Monicah Mwangi

Somali police has complained of a high military presence in the country.

Somalia Police Force Commissioner General Mohamed Sheikh Hassan said the number of troops should be reduced and police numbers increased .

“The Somali police will one day take their responsibility in maintaining law and order. They can start by reducing military troops by 1,000 or even 500 and this needs to start soon,” he told the Star on Friday.

Hassan said the support provided by Amisom police is neglected by the international community and Somali police officers.

He also complained of a shortage of firearms for his police force.

Hassan said despite Amisom police training his officers, he has had challenges deploying them to the field.  

“Yes, they have trained us, but you cannot deploy officers without arms and equipment,” he said.

Amisom police commissioner Anand Pillay said they help in building the institutional capacity for Somali police.

“This means building up a Somali police organisation to perform police functions,” he said.

Anand said their mandate is to provide basic training to the officers to enable them perform their duties effectively.

“We all know basic police training takes a year to complete. Unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury in Somalia that we can spend a year training an officer because we don’t have enough numbers,” he said.

Anand said they give Somali police a 12-week training after which Amisom police officers mentor them on the job.

“We give them operational support and conduct joint operations and this builds their confidence,” he said.

Among the requirements to join the Somali police force is the ability to speak English.

“This will solve the language barrier challenge between Amisom and the Somalia force,” Anand said.

So far, Amisom has trained 400 Somali officers and 200 more will be trained starting next month.

“It’s our responsibility to support the Somali government in building up a police unit,” Anand said.

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