A new contingent of Ugandan Individual Police Officers (IPOs) has been deployed in Somalia to serve on the peacekeeping mission.
The contingent comprising of 14 police officers has been fully inducted after undergoing a one week’s training course upon arrival and is ready to serve under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
At the end of their induction on Friday, the officers were advised to focus on peacekeeping roles and avoid untoward behavior that may compromise their work, according to a statement issued by AMISOM.
Speaking at the end of the induction training the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia (SRCC) Ambassador Maman Sidikou stressed the importance of policing in the peacekeeping mission.
“Police will be playing a greater role as we move towards the 2016 elections in Somalia. You will complement the efforts of your military colleagues in keeping peace. Your role of liberating the country into a peaceful one is very important,” Sidikou told the contingent.
He also urged the officers to be conscious of and respect the culture of the local people and pay particular attention to protecting women, children and vulnerable groups. He also warned against sexual exploitation and abuse.
IPOs are involved in training, mentoring, advising and helping build the individual capacities of Somali police officers as well as the Somali Police Force (SPF) as an institution.
AMISOM Police Commissioner Anand Pillay described the induction training as intense but added that AMISOM has zero tolerance to sexual exploitation and abuse, warning that the mission has zero tolerance for such vices.
“This training course has prepared them for the mission that lies ahead of them. One of the issues that was discussed and I think highlighted during this induction training is sexual exploitation and abuse and all have been informed of the seriousness of the matter,” Pillay said at the function held at the AMISOM base in Mogadishu.
The conclusion of the induction course for the 14 IPOs comes hardly a week after another new contingent of 140 Ugandan Formed Police Unit (FPU) also concluded their induction in Mogadishu with a call on the newly deployed officers to be vigilant and observe a high level of discipline.
The Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of African Union Commission for Somalia (DSRCC) Lydia Wanyoto Mutende challenged the officers from the Formed Police Unit to be sensitive to the new environment they are operating in and live up to the expectation of the mission.
“We have been able to recover a substantive size of Somalia. We even have a government running in Somalia. Endeavor to restore law and order, build policing institutions and help with intelligence,” Wanyoto said, adding that the counter intelligence war requires a lot of intelligence within the community.
The FPU is involved in carrying out cordon and search operations, public order management and provision of escort and guard duties including for Very Important Persons.
Uganda is one of the five police contributing countries under AMISOM. The other countries are Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone.
AMISOM FPU play a crucial role of ensuring improved security in liberated areas under the Public Order Management Law. IPOs have been co-located with the SPF in several police stations where they train and mentor their local counterparts.