On 16 September, the European Union’s Maritime Capacity Building Mission in the Horn of Africa and Western Indian Ocean, EUCAP Nestor, celebrated the successful completion of two training courses for participants from different Somali regions, together with Somali, Djiboutian and International partners.
The ceremony took place at the Training Centre of the Djibouti Gendarmerie in the presence of dignitaries from Djibouti, the Federal Government of Somalia and the Somali regions Puntland and Galmudug, as well as representatives of the European Union and the International Community. The Head of the EU Military Training Mission in Somalia, General Mingiardi, travelled specifically from Mogadishu to participate in the ceremony.
“Piracy in the Horn of Africa has declined in the recent years thanks to the efforts of international maritime forces deployed in the Gulf of Aden; but it did not disappear. The bases on land are still there. Today, 61 Somali Coast Guard officers are finishing the first part of their basic training course,” said EUCAP Nestor Head of Mission, Etienne de Poncins.
“They will go back to Somalia with the necessary skills to support the fight against piracy and to make Somalia a safer place. EUCAP Nestor is deploying personnel to Mogadishu and to Hargeisa in the coming weeks to further strengthen our excellent cooperation with our Somali partners”.
The course that started in the beginning of September 2014 was aimed at developing participants’ skills, knowledge and techniques in naval police and coast guard functions and operations. Enabling the Somali authorities to fight pirates on sea and on shore more efficiently is at the core of EUCAP Nestor’s mandate.
The participants -all of them Coast Guard recruits from different Somali regions (Federal Government of Somalia, Puntland, Galmudug), were trained in topics such as basic police skills, crime scene investigation and arrest techniques, maritime competences, International Law of the Sea, human rights and gender issues, swimming and fire-fighting.
EUCAP Nestor trainers, as well as legal, maritime and police experts delivered this seven week course with the support of the Djibouti Gendarmerie, Navy and Coast Guard and trainers from the French Forces in Djibouti who held courses such as fire-fighting and swimming at the French Naval and Air base. On several occasions, the new recruits visited military vessels, including two EU NAVFOR vessels, in the port of Djibouti, and carried out exercises on board ship.
“You will go back to Somalia, to your regions and support the fight against piracy,” said Made Nurey Sheick, Admiral of the Federal Government’s Coast Guard, in his address to the recruits. “Nobody will be able to take away the skills you acquired during this training and you will use them wherever you will be deployed to make Somalia a safer place. I welcome the opening of EUCAP Nestor office in Somalia and I hope that they will continue working with us and deliver this basic training course as well as many other training courses in the future”.
Jamal Hassan Ismail, Somali Vice-Minister of Port and Transport said “In my name and the name of the central government of Somalia, I would like to thank EUCAP Nestor in general for their engagement in Somalia and specifically for this training to enhance the capacity of the coastal guard”.
Aden Hassan Aden, the Djibouti Minister of Religious Affairs, Culture and Waqf said: “Djibouti troops are in Somalia to support our neighbours in every possible way. Making the coast and the territorial waters safer is one part of this fight which we are leading hand in hand with the international partners and the European Union in special. ”
The ceremony ended with the handover of certificates to the trainees of both courses and with the distribution of gifts to the best students of the course.
The first two training courses have been judged as a success and EUCAP Nestor is planning to provide similar courses in the future that will be held in Somalia as the security situation allows.
The training course was developed in close cooperation with the Djibouti and Mogadishu Port Authorities with the aim of assisting Somali authorities to increase the security and safety of the port operations by providing personnel the appropriate skills required to use the electronic devices donated by the World Food Programme earlier this year.
The course was instructed by EUCAP Nestor experts, Djibouti Navy officers and Port officials as well as by a Seychelles trainer from the Seychelles. Besides port control rules and port communications, the port officials had the occasion to practice Radar and communication systems on board the EU NAVFOR vessel Van Speij as well as in Djibouti Port Tower.
“I came from the Seychelles as part of the cooperation of the Seychelles’ port authorities with EUCAP Nestor” said Mr Chetty, Assistant Harbor Master and pilot of the Seychelles Port Authority who came from the Seychelles specifically for this course. “I am very happy to share my knowledge and experience with my colleagues from Somalia. This training enhances our cooperation and helps to enhance the efficiency of the Port of Mogadishu. The region should do more together to help bring stability and know how to our neighbouring countries in the Horn of Africa”.
“Enhancing regional cooperation in the maritime security sector is at the heart of EUCAP Nestor’s mandate” said Alberto Vazquez, the Head of EUCAP Nestor Maritime Pillar, at the end of the training course. “The port officers from Mogadishu have encountered their colleagues from Djibouti and from the Seychelles and shared their experiences with them.”