The UK officially opened a training facility in Somalia on Saturday for the Somali National Army (SNA), as the Horn of African country readies to take up security responsibilities.
The British Embassy in Somalia announced that “the new centre will help develop Somali led security forces & promote long term stability and security in the country.”
The training facility is based in Baidoa, the capital of Bay region in Southern Somalia.
Somalia has been dogged by an Islamist insurgency for over a decade, perpetrated by al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab. The terror group has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions others.
With an unequipped and untrained security force, the international community moved into Somalia to help in the fight against terrorism. The UK, US and African Union are some of the groups with missions in Somalia.
With gains made in the fight, various security agencies including the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) plan to systematically withdraw the troops from the Horn of African country.
The withdrawal of AMISOM troops is due to start from October, with the force expected to be fully out of the country by December 2020, handing over to the SNA.
Defeating al-Shabaab is a key agenda in President Mohamed Abdullahi’s government, one he has expressed confidence he will achieve.