Twenty military officers from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali National Army (SNA) have concluded a four-day intelligence gathering training in Mogadishu, to enhance gathering and sharing of information to deepen collaboration in conducting joint military operations against Al-Shabaab terrorists in Somalia.
The J2 foundation course, supported by the United Kingdom (UK) Mission Support Team (UK-MST) to AMISOM, in conjunction with the AMISOM Force Headquarters was attended by seven SNA and 13 AMISOM military officers, drawn from all the sectors.
In his opening remarks in Mogadishu on Wednesday, AMISOM Force Commander, Lieutenant General Diomede Ndegeya, stressed the significance of the course to military operations.
"Intelligence or information is a critical capability in military operations, and indeed critical to both AMISOM and SNA. With the effective use of information, we can analyse the enemy and uncover his intentions, while helping to protect and support our own forces," Lt. Gen. Ndegeya said, adding that intelligence can boost operation planning and decision making.
The Force Commander noted that the situation in Somalia is complex and constantly evolving, necessitating good situational awareness but added that AMISOM had deployed good and actionable intelligence, to great success, in the war against Al-Shabaab.
At the closing ceremony on Saturday, Lt. Gen. Ndegeya urged the participants to transfer the knowledge and skills gained from the training, to their jobs in their respective units, to enable the mission to achieve its mandate, particularly in efforts to degrade Al-Shabaab and restore peace and stability in Somalia.
"Let me again stress the importance of military intelligence. We cannot hope to defeat Al-Shabaab and secure the transition of security to our Somali friends without the effective implementation of J2," the Force Commander stated.
On his part, Lieutenant Colonel Torcail Stroud-Caules, the Commander of the UK-MST, on Wednesday stressed the need for synergy between AMISOM and SNA, in light of AMISOM's anticipated exit, and the need to transfer security responsibilities to Somali Security Forces.
"The main aim besides understanding the J2 concepts and understanding the requirements to apply them equally across all the sectors, is to work together with AMISOM and SNA because at some point AMISOM will be leaving and the SNA needs to be able to do this themselves," said Lt. Col. Stroud-Caules.
At the opening, Colonel Hans Nyange, the AMISOM Chief Military Intelligence Officer noted that the training will enhance the efficiency of the participants as intelligence officers.
"After they finish their training, we expect that they will go back to their respective units and they will be able to give us information in the manner which we expect and also help to secure their FOBs and bases where they operate from, just to make sure that AMISOM delivers on its mandate as expected," said Col. Nyange.
At the closing, Lt. Adil Mohamed Ali, one of the participants from the SNA, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, lauded AMISOM and UK-MST for the training and appealed for similar training to be conducted in future.
"We have undertaken a J2 course here on intelligence gathering which was a very important course for us the Somali National Army (SNA). It was a four days course and we learnt and benefited a lot from this course.
We hope to share the skills and knowledge we learnt here in the training in order to share with our colleagues and units. We request for more similar trainings in future," said Lt. Ali.