EU to start training of 2,000 Somali troops in Uganda in May

10:09, February 13, 2010      

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The European Union (EU) will start the training of 2,000 Somali troops in Uganda in May, a senior French army official said on Friday.

Brigadier General Thierry Caspar-Fille-Lambie, the commanding officer of the French Forces based in Djibouti said the Somali troops will be trained with the necessary military skills to help pacify and stabilize the volatile country.

The Somali troops will be trained for six months in Bihanga in western Uganda.

"As France was one of the countries stressing the need for the involvement of EU in training Somalia forces, around 30 French trainers shall be part of that mission," said Lambie at the closing ceremony of four-week French operational training of 1,700Ugandan troops to be deployed in the lawless country in May for peacekeeping mission.

During the course, a 1,700-men battalion of Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDF) to be deployed in Somalia underwent training in peacekeeping operations while 120 non-commissioned officers trained in commanding the force.

"The EU troops shall work in close collaboration with UPDF to train the Somali troops," said Rene Forceville, the French Ambassador to Uganda.

Lt. Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, the commander of Uganda Land Forces said the best way to help pacify the Horn of Africa country is by training and equipping their troops.

"We together with EU troops shall train them with the necessary skills to manage their own security," said Wamala.

The EU earlier this month agreed to set up a military mission in Uganda aimed at training up to 2,000 Somali troops, which will complement other training missions and bring the total number of better- trained Somali soldiers to 6,000.

The mission led by Spain will closely coordinate with the African Union, the U.S. and the United Nations as well as with Somalia's transitional government.

Uganda and Burundi are currently the only countries contributing some 4,300 troops to the African Union's peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

Somalia has been plagued by civil strife since the overthrow of military strongman Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

Source: Xinhua
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