A group of 15 Somali Navy and Coast Guard officers have finished a two-week specialised maritime security course targeted at improving Somalia’s extensive coastal defence. The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) and the European Union Capacity Building Mission in Somalia (EUCAP Somalia) co-facilitated the training.
The training is part of ongoing efforts to strengthen the Somali Security soldiers (SSF) and prepare them to take over maritime security responsibilities once ATMIS soldiers depart at the end of 2024. Somalia boasts Africa’s longest coastline, stretching 3,333 kilometres, and its security is crucial to the country’s and the Horn of Africa region’s stability.
General seamanship, basic safety, boat maintenance, radio communications, maritime legislation, and first aid skills were among the subjects addressed in the course. The 15 Coast Guard officers are the second batch to go through the training, following 15 troops who finished a similar programme last month.
The training, according to Lt. Gen. Sam Okiding, the ATMIS Force Commander, is in keeping with the objectives of the Somali Transition Plan (STP) and the ATMIS mandate, notably mentorship and capacity building of Federal Government of Somalia institutions across all domains. The training is an important step for Somalia in developing a robust naval force to support the country’s security architecture.
According to Sven Lidner, Senior Maritime Advisor, EUCAP Somalia, the crisis management mission will continue to educate the SSF in order to assist the government in establishing an effective and dynamic security force. Lidner stressed the importance of continuing the series of trainings, ideally every two to three months, to strengthen the Somali Navy and Coast Guard (SNCG).
Maj. Abdiwahid Ali Afrah, SNCG Deputy Commander, praised the training and complimented the facilitators for instilling the essential skills and knowledge in the officers. A participant, Inspector Yusuf Abdi Hersi, regarded the training as a game changer in his career as a navy officer, noting that it will help him improve his field of work based on the topics he studied, which included navigation, maritime laws, and first aid, among others.
The trainers emphasised the need of defending Somalia’s distinctive coastline, which is not just one of Africa’s most important trade routes but also one of the richest in marine resources.
The training is meant to raise the SNCG’s professional standards and contribute to the protection of Somalia’s coastline.