Somalia launches new military academy, integration program

MOGADISHU —  Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has launched a military academy in a bid to develop the country’s military defense after over two decades of a disintegrated military force.

Mohamud said the opening of the academy concretely demonstrates the assistance from international partners in supporting Somalia in the war against terrorism and efforts to rebuild the Somali National Army.

“This shows that our deep concerns with Al-Shabaab are shared internationally, and other countries see the strategic importance of ensuring that the threat is eradicated. Countries in our region are willing to engage with us to rid Somalia of Al-Shabaab,” he said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

“I am very pleased that in response to my request for reconstruction and security support, the government of the UAE has responded so quickly and generously,” he added.

The militant group Al-Shabaab has battled with the government for a number of years now in its push for implementation of restrict Sharia rule in Somalia.

In a similar development, the president has also launched the National Commission for the Somali National Army Integration.

The move came two weeks after the president and state leaders agreed in a conference to integrate
Somali Army is to give it a national outlook and strengthen it through consolidation of resources. The state government of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland pledged to provide 3,000 soldiers to join the SNA.

“After 25 years, we are today witnessing a historic day. Launching of the integration commission is very crucial in the process of returning law, order and trust building among the society and moving forward by building a new bright future,” Mohamud said.

The president called on the commission members to serve the nation with dedication and not to be bogged down by failures of the past.

“You are serving a nation that has been affected by civil war for more than two decades, and you are the ones who have been given an important task in reuniting them. I kindly ask the people to forget about the dark days of our history and forgive each other,” said the president.

The integration program is being implemented with the support of the British government.