The European Union (EU) has provided military equipment to the Somali National Army (SNA) to assist them in combating the al-Shabab terrorist group as African Union peacekeepers withdraw from the country. The equipment, part of the European Peace Facility (EPF), aims to enhance the capacities of the armed forces in preparation for the security transition. The EU’s support is closely coordinated with the EU Training Mission in Somalia (EUTM-S).
Thomas Kieler, charge d’affaires at the EU Delegation to Somalia, highlighted the EU’s objective of strengthening the capacity of Somalia’s security and governance actors to protect their people. The EU sees itself as a strategic partner of Somalia and emphasizes the importance of enabling Somalia to take over responsibility for security.
The EU conducted the fifth handover of military equipment following specialized training delivered by the EUTM-S. Before receiving the equipment, all beneficiary soldiers underwent training on international human rights and humanitarian law. The EU also provided pre-identified units of the Somali army with EU-funded, non-lethal military equipment to counter the militant attacks faced by the security forces and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).
The EU’s support to the SNA through the military equipment is part of a series of three consecutive EU support packages since 2020, totaling 70.82 million U.S. dollars. The implementation of the support is carried out by the UN Office for Project Services. The focus is on building operational capabilities of the SNA, complementing the mandate of EUTM-Somalia, which involves training, mentoring, and advising the SNA. Infrastructure works are also part of the support provided.
The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) recently completed the process of handing over security responsibilities to Somali security forces, in compliance with UN Security Council Resolutions 2628 and 2670. ATMIS withdrew 2,000 troops and handed over seven military bases. The EU’s support aims to ensure a smooth transition as Somali security forces take over full security responsibilities.