The visiting Somali Defence Minister, Prof Mohamed Abdi Mohamed, yesterday commended the training that his country’s security forces had received from Rwanda and requested for more.
Mohamed said this outside the Ministry of Defence offices in Kimihurura, in company of his Rwandan counterpart, Gen. Marcel Gatsinzi following an hour-long meeting with the latter and other senior military officials.
“The government of Rwanda trained our soldiers before, and they were so good and they are the ones we have in the field now. We will continue to seek this assistance, to ask our brothers to help us to train more,” Mohamed said, insisting that the previous exercise had been very successful and useful to the Somali troops.
Mohamed who is now on his second Rwanda tour shed more light on the purpose of his present visit – touching base to get first hand information, being on the ground, and secondly, to discuss with his Rwandan counterparts how they can further help his country by training its soldiers.
Gen. Gatsinzi backed this up, highlighting the genesis of this bilateral military cooperation – mid March’s state visit by current President of the Transitional Federal Government of the Somali Republic, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
Among President Ahmed’s entourage last year was the visiting Defence Minister.
Gatsinzi said that that the purpose of his counterpart’s visit here is for the two officials to see how they can formulate a plan on how additional Somali forces can be trained in Rwanda. He noted that between 100 -150 Somali troops, at all levels would be trained.
Previously, 100 troops from the war-torn Horn of Africa nation were trained in Rwanda.
“They (Somalis) have appreciated, they told us that those we trained, over a year ago, are doing a good job and that they appreciate the training, this being the reason why they have returned,” Gatsinzi said.
The Somali Minister also noted that several other countries had pledged to assist his country, either by training its military or by providing peace keepers to the African Union mandated AMISOM.
The mission is currently made up of troops from Burundi and Uganda but Mohamed noted that Sierra Leone promised to send a battalion to Somalia as part of the mission.
“There are other countries that promised us to participate in training, like Djibouti, Sudan, France and Egypt.”
The Somali delegation, including Somali’s Deputy Police Commissioner General Bashir Jama, was also scheduled to meet Rwandan Foreign Affairs, Finance and Internal Security ministers yesterday.
Somalia has been in turmoil ever since former President Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted in 1991 and, with perpetual civil conflict there, advice on setting up the country’s governance institutions as well as the reconciliation process, are other distinct areas of probable assistance from Rwanda.