KIGALI - Somali’s Minister of Defence, Prof. Mohamed Abdi Mohamed “Gandhi” arrived in the country late Wednesday for a visit aimed at seeking Rwanda’s support in training forces of the war-torn country.
According to Army Spokesperson Maj. Jill Rutaremara, the minister will meet his Rwandan counterpart, Gen. Marcel Gatsinzi, and also hold a series of meetings with several other senior government officials.
“The training of the Somali National Security Forces and capacity building for key ministries and institutions in Somalia will feature prominently in the various discussions,”
Rutaremara revealed in an email to The New Times yesterday. An unspecified number of Somali forces are already undergoing training in Rwanda.
The minister together with his delegation will visit Rwanda Military Academy in Gako and also brief senior government officials on the political and security situation in the war ravaged nation.
The Somali delegation includes Deputy Police Commissioner General Bashir Jama, Somali Ambassador to Kenya Mohamed Ali Nur, and the Advisor to the African Union Special Representative for Somalia, Fred Ngoga Gateretse.
Mid last March, the new President of the Transitional Federal Government of the Somali Republic, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed visited the country and held talks with President Paul Kagame and several government officials.
During President Ahmed’s two-day state visit, the Rwandan government pledged support to the latter’s government.
Rwandan ministers were then to review, with their Somali counterparts, different areas of cooperation in an effort to support President Ahmed’s transitional government, as was decided by the two Heads of State.
These areas of cooperation include training the Somali army and advising on setting up the country’s governance institutions and, the reconciliation process.
Somalia has been in turmoil ever since 1991 when former president Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted. Perpetual civil conflict in the country since then is the result of what is seen as the Africa’s worst humanitarian crisis.
The delegation comes to Rwanda after a similar trip to Burundi, which is also contributing to the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia.
There are over 4,000 African Union peacekeepers from Uganda and Burundi in the capital to help bolster the present government.