EU military in Uganda to train Somalis

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100 soldiers from European Union countries are in Uganda to train Somali soldiers in street fighting and other military tactics. More trainers are expected to arrive.

50 others are expected to join them later to bring the total number of security trainers to 150.

According to the European Union Training mission -Somalia commander
colonel Ricardo Gonzalez, the military mission in Uganda was launched in support of the United Nations Security Council resolution 1872 issued last year.

“The size of the mission is planned to be approximately 150 EU personnel coming from 14 EU countries,” he said, “The EU military mission will
terminate in 2011 after two consecutive training periods of six months.”

Spain and France have so far contributed the biggest number of soldiers in Uganda. They are presently at the Bihanga military training camp where the
training of soldiers has begun.

Bihanga training camp is located 350 kilometres west of Kampala, the Ugandan capital.

According to UN statement issued to the press in Kampala, Spain has
contributed 37 military personnel, France 19, Belgium 7, Germany 6,
Ireland 5, whilst Italy, Finland, Sweeden and Hungary provided 4 each. Malta sent 3 soldiers, ahead of Greece, Portugal and the United Kingdom who sent 2 each. Luxemberg sent 1 trainer.

Training at Bihanga camp kicked off yesterday with 100 Somali soldiers being trained to become junior officers. Other 230 Somali soldiers are supposed to join them in the near future to bring the total number of trainees to 330.

The EU is also supporting 1400 Somali recruits who are undergoing basic military training under Uganda peoples defence force.

Gonzalez said that by the end of the one year EU training mission mandate, a total of 2000 Somali soldiers would have been trained.

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