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Eutm Somalia starts (7). Somalis arrive, training begins

(BRUSSELS2, in Bihanga) The Somali workforce is now almost complete. It was slower than expected. But the Europeans are expected to start their training in the coming days in Bihanga. The first Somalis began to arrive, since Thursday, May 6, in Bihanga. In small groups. Very discreetly. The Ugandans want it. At Entebbe airport, having arrived at night, they were first directed to a Ugandan army camp for the first enlistment process. Then towards Bihanga, in small groups, by civilian bus, also often at night.

(photo credits: © NGV / Brussels 2 - all reproduction rights reserved)

Upon their arrival, the Somalis enter the specific process of incorporation into the UPDF in which the Europeans are not directly involved.

Their equipment - uniforms, clothes, shoes or boots, bags... - was given to them. The sets are quite heterogeneous. And, in this "gang" of young men, many of whom have apparently never seen the color of a gun, nor of an army, discipline is a bit ... improvised. The section chiefs have all the difficulty in the world to obtain a little order. But good humor and goodwill prevail. And all it takes is the arrival of a camera or a video camera to create, in a matter of seconds, an almost perfect alignment. Each wanting to appear, then, in the photo.

(photo credits: © NGV / Brussels 2 - all reproduction rights reserved)
(photo credits: © NGV / Brussels 2 - all reproduction rights reserved)

First impromptu meeting

A first meeting takes place in the Ugandan barracks. The Somali soldiers have just arrived. And this is their first meeting with a European officer. A crowd forms spontaneously.

And the conversation begins. One of the Irish mentors – who is the G1 of the European camp (personal and accommodation manager) has easy contact. A former member of the United Nations, he attacks immediately " I don't really speak Arabic, just a few words. Untranslatable, this is arabic. Everything is fine ? he asks. " No » replies a « The food. It's not okay. And another to add, pointing to those fingers. " Three times per day. It's too much "!

Where do they come from ? the answer is often the same, Mogadishu. In fact, some come from other parts of Somalia. But they will prefer to remain discreet about their origin. How is the situation in Somalia: “good, good”…

(photo credits: © NGV / Brussels 2 - all reproduction rights reserved)
(photo credits: © NGV / Brussels 2 - all reproduction rights reserved)

Weapons under lock and key

To avoid any problems, the Somalis have no weapons. These are recorded after each exercise in the armoury, where the guard of the camp watches, rather well armed.

Common training starts these days. With a well-defined distribution as explained by Colonel Bouillaud, a Frenchman, deputy head of the mission:

“We specialize in the training of young executives, officers and non-commissioned officers as well as specialists. At the same time, the Ugandans will continue to give young recruits basic training. And, as this 6-month training progresses, we will mix our efforts so that, at the end of the course, we can set up complete units. »

To get another idea of ​​Kampala and Bihanga, you can see images on the newroom of the Council of the European Union: here ou To download

(Nicolas Gros-Verheye)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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