A contingent of Sierra Leone police officers who arrived in Somalia’s port city of Kismayo last Tuesday, to boost the capacity of the local Police, have started work in earnest.
A total of 160 police officers, from the Formed Police Unit (FPU), Sierra Leone’s largest deployment in Somalia to date, is in Julalabad state, as part of a surge capacity that is fast tracking the implementation of policing programmes.
Their deployment follows a UN Security Council Resolution last year, which authorized an increase in the number of police officers serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (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 envisages an increased need for police officers, in areas that will have been vacated by the military, as a result of the phased, conditions-based drawdown.
The Sierra Leone police officers completed an orientation course yesterday, tailored to familiarize them with AMISOM’s mandate.
“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,” said ACP Martin Ernest Abilu, AMISOM’s Police Coordinating Officer for Jubbaland, at the end of the induction training, held in the port city of Kismayo.
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.
The UN Police Commissioner Lucien Vermier, addressed the police officers on Monday, and assured them of the support of the UN Police. “One of the reasons I am a strong believer in FPU since I worked with them in other missions, (is that) it is really a performance tool, if used properly, they (officers) really bring security to the areas where they are deployed,” said Vermier, who lauded the cooperation between the UN Police and AMISOM Police component.
“They (AMISOM Police) are actually the people doing the work on the ground and they are doing a fantastic job,” noted the UN Police Commissioner, who also explained, that the UN Police provides advise to the Somali Police Force at a strategic level, and assists them with reforms, among other areas of support.
A total of 145 police officers from Sierra Leone arrived in Kismayo last Tuesday, where they joined an advance team of 15 officers who had arrived earlier.
AMISOM expects more deployments of police officers from other Police Contributing Countries (PCCs), to boost the presence of the AU Police in other Federal Member States. Other than Sierra Leone, other Police Contributing Countries to AMISOM are Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Zambia.