A contingent of Sierra Leone’s police officers have completed orientation course tailored to familiarise them with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) mandate and have been deployed in southern Somalia, the mission said on Wednesday.
The AU mission said a total of 160 police officers from the Formed Police Unit (FPU), Sierra Leone’s largest deployment in Somalia to date, have been deployed in Jubbaland State as part of a surge capacity that is fast-tracking the implementation of policing programmes.
Martin Ernest Abilu, AMISOM’s Police Coordinating Officer for Jubbaland said at the end of the induction training in the port city of Kismayo.
“They were taught by a number of instructors who are experts in various fields, so this Formed Police Unit is now ready for deployment to conducting activities that brought them to this Mission,’’ Abilu said.
AMISOM said in a statement issued in Mogadishu that the police officers who arrived in Somalia recently to boost the capacity of the local police have started work in earnest.
Their deployment follows a UN Security Council Resolution in 2017, which authorised an increase in the number of police officers serving under the AMISOM to boost the technical capacity of the Somali police officers, who will be deployed in recovered areas to restore law and order.
The plan envisaged an increased need for police officers, in areas that would have been vacated by the military, as a result of the phased, conditions-based drawdown.
“The officers are expected to train and mentor their Somali counterparts in public order management among others things.
“They will also undertake joint police patrols and assist them in the protection of critical facilities and installations,’’ AMISOM said.
A total of 145 police officers from Sierra Leone arrived in Kismayo on April 17, where they joined an advance team of 15 officers who had arrived earlier.
Other than Sierra Leone, other Police Contributing Countries to AMISOM are Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Zambia.