Military officers serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia, AMISOM, and the Somali National Army (SNA) have completed a five-day training course aimed at enhancing joint capabilities in mitigating the threat posed by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
The UN Counter-IED threat mitigation course, organised by the AMISOM Force Headquarters in conjunction with the United Kingdom Mission Support Team (UKMST), and facilitated by the International Peace Support Centre (IPSC), was attended by 22 military officers, drawn from all the AMISOM sectors and the SNA.
At the closing in Mogadishu, Somalia, the AMISOM Deputy Force Commander (DFC) in charge Support and Logistics, Major General Gerbi Kebede Regassa, noted the training will help in countering the threat posed by IEDs and ultimately in the implementation of the Mission's mandate.
"The presence of well-trained and better equipped troops to combat such threats will help improve conditions on the ground, build confidence, and in the execution of the force mandate," said the Deputy Force Commander on Thursday.
He noted that the knowledge and skills acquired from the training will also help AMISOM and the SNA better plan operations to restore peace and stability in Somalia.
"The skills you have acquired in this course will enable you to evaluate, plan and manage operations in IED threat environments. You are also now equipped with concepts, methods, processes and practices that you will be required to employ whenever you are planning for military operations," said Maj. Gen. Regassa.
"The skills you have learned in this course will go a long way to mitigate the IED threats in Somalia; they will further increase accessibility to numerous areas and ultimately contribute towards our ability to stabilise Somalia," the DFC added.
Lieutenant Colonel Torcail Stroud-Caules, the Commander of the UKMST, congratulated the participants upon completing the course and urged them to broadly apply the knowledge acquired, so as to counter the threat posed by IEDs.
"Counter-IED is not about engineers. It is about mind-set, it is about how you think about things; when you plan a route for logistics or plan a route for a patrol, the same Counter-IED techniques need to be brought into play," Lt. Col. Stroud-Caules explained.
AMISOM Chief Force Engineer, Colonel Saheed Sadiq, noted that the training is timely and critical in countering IEDs, which the Al-Shabaab has deployed with devastating effect.
"The training that you have received here over the past five days will contribute to efforts to mitigate those threats. This can be achieved by ensuring that the knowledge you received cascades to members of your groups, your formations, units and wherever you find yourselves," Col. Sadiq noted.
IEDs are the preferred weapon of choice for Al-Shabaab, who often plant them on Main Supply Routes (MSRs), targeting AMISOM and government troops, but civilians often get hit. IEDs constitute one of the most significant threats to AMISOM peacekeepers, making the training extremely important, especially in efforts to defeat the IEDs.