The Somali National Army (SNA), the National Intelligence Service Agency (NISA) and the National Security Service have completed a week-long training program in the destruction of small-arms and light weapons (SALW).
The training, attended by 15 personnel, was conducted in Mogadishu by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).
Weapons safety and identification
The course covered weapons safety and identification as well as the safe use of hydraulic weapons shears – a state-of-the-art machine used to cut up firearms, rendering them unusable and irreparable.
The training is part of a one-year pilot project to develop a comprehensive Weapons and Ammunition Management (WAM) system for the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) which will ensure the safe storage, registration, maintenance and distribution of military equipment by the Security Forces, in accordance with international standards and sanction obligations.
All old weapons in the country need to be destroyed yet it’s not easy to get young people willing to participate in this. We want to continue with this group and upgrade the skills of our forces to the required level. It is of benefit to them and maybe in future they can be trainers.” Colonel Ahmed
The project includes support to FGS to develop a legal framework for the control of weapons, establishment of a weapons central storage area, weapons marking, setting up of standard operational procedures for weapons distribution and reporting to the UN Security Council.
Munitions management program
“Our role is to support the government in a comprehensive way in weapons and munitions management program. It’s the government’s responsibility and they requested for support and we have come up with this concept for a pilot project,” said Michael Hands, UNMAS project manager who facilitated the course.
Mr. Hands was impressed with the effort made by the security forces in acquiring this important skill in weapons safety. “These students were excellent. They were really committed. Considering that we are at the end of Ramadan, they all turned up every day and have been very professional and keen,” he said.
Colonel Ahmed Moallim Mohamed, the SNA head of Armory and Munitions expressed gratitude to UNSOM and UNMAS for their support in training and building capacity of the country’s security institutions.
Abadir Ahmed, the Special Assistant to the National Security Advisor said the skills acquired by the trainees would be of long-term benefit to national security. He encouraged the trainees to practice the skills acquired and added that future training could focus on using the trainees as trainers.
Earlier this year in February, UNMAS held a 2-week weapons marking and recordkeeping course to mark and record newly-imported weapons before they were distributed to FGS security forces. In the next phase of the project, UNMAS plans to mobilize resources to assist the FGS in implementing the WAM pilot project.