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General Mingiardi's cry of alarm: more resources are needed in Somalia

General Mingiardi with the Somali Minister of Defense (credit: EEAS)
General Mingiardi with the Somali Minister of Defense (credit: EEAS)

(BRUXELLES2) In an interview given to the agency DNAkronos General Mingiardi commanding the European training mission of the Somali army (EUTM Somalia) issues a cry of alarm.

A call to member states

« Il and still a lot to do. The mission ofshould be strengthened. There is a need money et men, I asked d'autres soldiers, I'm always awaiting replies from Member States”. It's worrying ! Almost a month ago, at the informal meeting of defense ministers in Milan, the general made the same appeal (read about the Club: "Training an army that is at war, a real challenge" (Mingiardi / EUTM Somalia). NB: Since then there have been few advancements, it seems. No Member State is jostling at the gate.

The Somali army's equipment problem

But the general also puts his finger on an equally important problem, the "working" conditions of the Somali army. « The soldiers that follow the course do not have uniforms. THEthere is not de barrack because the buildings have been bombed. The soldiers sleep currently on the the land. Andt There's no drinking water... ". Moreover, they have no equipment. " Training men is not the solution to problems, there is a need for uniforms and equipment ". And to add: I'm kind of their commander. Corn I do not have the power to intervene » NB: A project is being debated in the European authorities on this point. But no solution is yet in sight. And the postulates posed still seem very timid. Read also (Club - exclusive): The “Train & Team” concept. The first principles are laid down

Will Europe have a little courage?

« We have earned the respect and consideration of the country's institutions, starting with the Minister of Defence. But we should have more courage to dare, to take advantage of the favorable moment” explains Mingiardi. " Faced with this situation, it is necessary for Europe to intervene »

NB: a bit of courage, no doubt, but also foresight. The battle waged by the international community against the Islamist Shebabs in Somalia rests on a balance. At the front, the African Union (AMISOM) leads the fighting on the ground, with elements of the Somali army, and in the air a few American drones (which are waging a bit of their own war). In the rear, the Europeans are structuring and finalizing the training of the Somali army. The equipment is the weak link of the system. If there are missing elements, the success of the operation may be called into question. This battle, even if the elements are different, must be compared to what is happening in the Gulf. However, when we look at the cost of such a training mission, even adding the necessary equipment, it remains modest compared to all the arsenal mobilized in Iraq against the Islamic State (Daesh). A year of mission is thus equivalent to a few days of strikes in Iraq or Syria!

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).