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Renewing the EUTM Somalia mission, the question arises

Credit: Council of the European Union

The European soldier training mission (Eutm Somalia) could be extended. At least that is the wish of the Ugandan government. And the feeling of several of the instigators of the Eutm Somalia mission. That would be in the logic of things. If we want to stabilize Somalia, we need troops. However, no European or Western state wants to contribute to it. And even African states are pulling their heels. The Eutm Somalia mission was calibrated to train two series of approximately 1000 soldiers in 14 months. We need more. This subject should be debated by Defense Ministers on December 9, in the presence of the head of the Eutm mission, Spanish Colonel Gonzalez Ellul.

The real test: combat resistance

The return is, in fact, a little delayed. In particular, the construction of the Jazeera camp in Mogadishu has not yet been completed and it seems that it cannot be completed before mid-January. At this time, the Somali soldiers trained in Bihanga in Uganda by the Europeans will be able to be brought back by several plane rotations, the latter taking advantage of the return to bring back the new recruits for training. The contingent of new recruits in Somalia will then be incorporated and mixed. A fairly slow process, which could last two months. And it will only be operational in the spring. The real test of the effectiveness of training and “mixing” will then be the “performance” of new recruits in combat and desertions. These will inevitably exist. But we hope, on the European side, that they will be limited.

Objective: Mogadishu

The objective of the AMISOM forces and the provisional government – ​​it is no secret – is to reconquer, district by district, Mogadishu and to secure them, to allow the provisional government to regain a semblance of existence. “ Who holds Mogadishu holds the country explains a Somali official. We are a little more cautious on the European side. But we recognize that if Mogadishu is reconquered, this will undoubtedly be an important signal » before being able to move on to other key points in the country, notably Kismayo, the Somali port held by El Shabab forces. For all this, more troops will be needed to hold and secure Mogadishu. Hence the interest in training more Somali soldiers. But, for this, it would be necessary to plan it immediately, to prepare. And we cannot wait for the first results on the ground. Because then it will be too late.

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).