German parliament gives go-ahead for military instructors for Somalia

Asad Cabdullahi MataanBy Asad Cabdullahi Mataan

Parliamentarians in Berlin have given approval for the dispatch of military instructors to Somalia on a training mission mandated by the European Union. Opposition deputies voted against the deployment

Germany’s armed forces, the Bundeswehr, have been training Somali soldiers since 2010, but up until now the training has taken place not in Somalia, but in Uganda (picture). In this latest move, parliament has given its consent to a change in policy, approving the deployment to Somalia of a maximum of 20 German troops.

This German contingent will be training Somali army specialists and military instructors as well as giving the Somali army advice on organizational matters in the Somali capital Mogadishu. So far some 3600 Somali army personnel have taken part in this training – in which nine EU states are participating – since its inception in 2010.

When the EU transferred its mission from Uganda to Mogadishu at the beginning of 2014, the Bundeswehr chose not to make the move because the German defense ministry considered the security situation too volatile.

In the meantime, the German government now believes that the German instructors’ working environment – a high security compound on the outskirts of Mogadishu airport – will be safe enough for them. “It is a responsibility that we are prepared to shoulder,” Philipp Mißfelder, the ruling Christian Democrats’ foreign policy spokesman, told parliament in Thursday’s debate (03.04.2014) on the deployment to Somalia.