The Somali National Army this week marked its 56th anniversary with its leadership announcing a raft of reforms aimed at strengthening its capacity to take charge of the country’s security.
A ceremony held at the Somali Armed Forces headquarters in Mogadishu was presided over by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and attended by several senior government officials as well as the leaders of the various regional states. The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, and AMISOM Acting Force Commander, Major General Mohammedesha Zeyinu, also attended the ceremony.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who is also the Commander- in-Chief of the Somali Armed Forces, pledged to prioritise soldiers’ welfare, an aspect, he said, was key to their motivation.
The President also commended the contribution by AMISOM in the development and growth of the Somali National Army, taking note of the tremendous sacrifices made.
“Today we thank our armed forces and our international friends who have come from different parts of the continent, starting with AMISOM. We will always start with AMISOM because they have sacrificed the most for the Somali people and the country. The Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) are not colonialists, they are not land grabbers; some don’t even share borders with us. We appreciate their efforts,” the President added.
The head of state also thanked the international community for supporting AMISOM and SNA by providing equipment, technology and expertise to secure the country, adding teamwork between foreign troops and SNA had made it possible for governance to reach every part of the country.
Somali Federal Defence Minister, Abdikadir Sheikh Ali Dini, congratulated the forces for the milestone attained and led participants in paying tribute to soldiers whose lives have been lost while serving the country.
“The Somali National Armed Forces that is marking its 56th anniversary was established by recruiting youngsters from the North and South of Somalia. They were the first to be integrated into the Somali National Armed Forces after the country gained independence. Today, we are witnessing the legacy left behind by those youngsters who dedicated their service to the country. We hope to see continuation of that legacy so we get an inclusive National Armed Forces,” the Defence Minister noted.
Somali Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) Major General Mohamed Ahmed Aden cited the top priorities of the Somali National Defence Forces, among them, building the capacity of its leadership, registration of personnel, improving financial and logistics management to enhance transparency, recruitment of more officers and equipping soldiers to effectively deal with the threat of terrorism.
The CDF announced that the National Troops Integration Commission has already been established, while discussions on security takeover from AMISOM are expected to begin soon.