19 March 2015 by defenceWeb
The European Union has extended the EU training mission in Somalia (EUTM Somalia) until 31 December 2016 as it continues to providing basic, leadership and specialised military training and advice to the Somali military.
The decision was announced on March 16. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said: "The EU training mission has already made a real difference in Somalia by training around 5000 Somali troops. It will gradually shift towards mentoring Somali trainers, enabling the Somali National Army to progressively take over their own training. This will contribute to supporting Somalia's efforts to bring security and stability to the country."
The EUTM has been training Somali personnel since 2010. EUTM's efforts have contributed to the development of civilian control over the armed forces and to the management of the Ministry of Defence, as well as to the preparation of a Defence Plan within the overall context of public service, the EU said, adding that the mission's move from Uganda to Mogadishu in early 2014 greatly facilitated this work.
The EUTM Somalia is part of the EU's comprehensive approach to Somalia, which comprises diplomatic efforts, development support, humanitarian aid as well as security engagement. It includes two complementary missions under the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy: EUNAVFOR Operation ATALANTA contributing to fighting piracy off the Somali coast and EUCAP Nestor for maritime security capacity development in the Horn of Africa and the Western Indian Ocean.
EUTM Somalia was launched in December 2010 and has been based in Mogadishu since 2014. Brigadier General Antonio Maggi, from Italy, has been appointed Mission Commander as of 8 March 2015, heading a team of 125 staff.