A cadet training school occupied by African Union troops for the last eleven years will soon be handed over to the Somali National Army (SNA).
Jaalle Siyaad Military Academy in the Somali capital Mogadishu, served as a key operations base for the African Union troops at the height of the war against Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Shabaab militants and a Forward Operating Base from which the troops waged a fierce war against the militants, leading to the liberation of Mogadishu in 2011.
The handover process of the institution is being undertaken within the framework of the Somalia Transition Plan and the United Nations Security Council Resolutions, which call for a gradual and conditions-based transfer of Somalia’s security responsibilities to the Somali security forces.
The African Union’s Special Representative for Somalia, who is also the Head of AMISOM, Ambassador Francisco Caetano Madeira did an inspection tour of the academy on Thursday, to assess rehabilitation works currently underway at the military institution.
“We thank the Somali government for allowing us to occupy this place at a time when the war against Al-Shabaab was at its peak,” Ambassador Madeira said. “At that moment, we needed to liberate Mogadishu from the occupation of the Al-Shabaab,” added the AU Special Representative, who was accompanied on the assessment tour by senior Somali National Army and AMISOM officials.
“The handing over of the (Mogadishu) Stadium and of the Academy is the second step forward,” stated Madeira, referring to the sixty-thousand capacity Mogadishu National Stadium, which was vacated by AMISOM troops and handed over to the Federal Government in August 2018.
The United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) is spearheading refurbishment works at the military academy ahead of its handover to the government. At least forty-eight (48) prefabricated buildings, a hospital, water treatment and power plants will be fully restored before the formal handover in 2019.
“We value the spirit of brotherhood from AMISOM and appreciate the rare sacrifices you have made to bring peace to Somalia,” Brig. Gen. Mohamed Sheikh Madobe, the Somali National Army (SNA) Head of Operations told the delegation from AMISOM.
Burundian troops currently occupying the institution are due to relocate to a Forward Operating Base in the outskirts of Mogadishu. This will be the third key institution handed over to the Somali government by the AU Mission since 2017. In July 2017 the Mission relinquished control of the Somali National University, which it had used as a military base for ten years, and handed it back to the Government.