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AU steps up training of Somali police officers on explosive devices

MOGADISHU (Xinhua) -- The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has stepped up training of Somali security forces in efforts to counter widespread use of explosives ahead of exit from the Horn of Africa nation.

AMISOM said it has begun another ten-day training course on countering Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) for the Somali Police Force (SPF) in Mogadishu focusing on prevention and detection of IEDs which have become the preferred weapon of choice for Al-Shabaab and other militant groups in Somalia.

AMISOM said in a statement released on Sunday evening that the training is aimed at equipping SPF officers with vital skills on preventing, disposing and countering IED attacks by the Al-Shabaab militants.

Hassan Guhad Abdullahi, AMISOM Police Counter Terrorism Trainer, who opened the course noted that the training was critical given that IEDs are currently the commonly used weapon by Al-Shabaab militants to cause death and destruction in the country.

“They (trainees) learnt to identify opportunities that these perpetrators can use to infiltrate and carry out (IED) attacks, and therefore have a kind of preventive and proactive approach to seal those opportunities and deny the bad guys so that this does not happen,” said Abdullahi from the Kenya Police Service.

The pan African troops are expected to relinquish the security of the key towns, to the Somali forces, through a conditions based transition plan, to allow them take the lead responsibility as part of the planned exit.

Under the exit strategy, some 1,000 soldiers were to be withdrawn from Somalia by the end of 2017 and AMISOM will deploy extra 500 police officers who will strengthen training and mentoring for Somali police.

According to AMISOM, IEDs have become Al-Shabaab’s weapon of choice in its asymmetrical warfare in the major towns and main supply routes has been singled out as the biggest threat to Somalia’s security and stability.

The officers were taken through a number of topics focusing on countering the use of IEDs and securing civilians.

“One of the main things they learnt is how to deny the bad guys the opportunity and also to degrade their capability to do so, based on intelligence,” Abdullahi said.

During the training, the officers carried out mock drills on how to respond to various scenarios related to an IED attack.

AMISOM Police has conducted similar trainings in the federal member states of South West and Jubbaland, where it trained a similar number of police officers in each state. 



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