March 20, 2017

U.S., Ethiopia begin training of AU soldiers to fight al-Shabaab in Somalia

The U.S. and Ethiopia Military on Monday began training soldiers from the African Union mission in Somalia (AMISOM) aimed at countering the threat from the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab.

The Justified Accord Exercise 2017, the first such training held in Ethiopia, was organised jointly by the U.S. and Ethiopian armed forces, U.S. military sources said.

AMISOM members from Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, as well as Somali soldiers, were attending the training facilitated by the U.S. the Netherlands, Britain, the AU and the UN.

“Almost 100 participants from a total of eight nations have assembled here to establish and maintain peace … in the East Africa region,” said Brig. Jon Jensen, deputy commander of the US Army in Africa.

“We will spend a week here looking at a specific scenario. This week our specific scenario is the African Union mission in Somalia,” he added.

The training was aimed at eventually ending the military mission of AMISOM and handing the responsibility of dealing with al-Shabaab back to Somalia alone, according to military officials.

AMISOM has about 22,000 troops in the Horn of Africa country to help the government fight al-Shabaab, whose decade-long campaign for an fundamentalist state has claimed thousands of lives.