UNMAS and UNSOM conclude two-week training for SNA

A graduation ceremony in Mogadishu following a 10 day weapons marking training course conducted by the UN for Somali National Army officers. UN Photo.

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Mogadishu, 26 February 2015 –  The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) launched a two-week training course for 12 members of the Somali National Army (SNA) on weapons marking and record keeping. The course, which started on 16 February 2015, ends today. It will facilitate the registration of weapons by the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) in the country.

The partial lifting of the arms embargo to Somalia has enabled the delivery of weapons, military equipment and training, solely to help develop the Somali Security Forces. Continued international support for the partial lifting of this embargo is contingent upon the Somali Government making substantial progress in developing the infrastructure to ensure the safe storage, registration, maintenance and distribution of military equipment by Somali security forces. That would entail establishing standardized procedures for the registration, distribution, the use and storage of weapons.

The FGS has expressed its commitment to fulfilling these responsibilities. It has requested assistance from the United Nations and Member States to implement a comprehensive Weapons and Ammunition Management (WAM) System in compliance with international standards and sanction obligations set by the United Nations Security Council. In December 2014, the FGS National Security Advisor, Abdirahman Sheikh Issa, made an urgent request for support from the United Nations to train officers in weapons marking and record keeping, in order to register new weapons imported to Somalia before they are disturbed to personnel from Somali security forces.

The United Nations trained soldiers on how to set up the marking machine, correctly security the weapon in a vice, as well as basic marking and record keeping techniques. The training aimed to establish an SNA team capable of conducting independent weapons marking and registration in Mogadishu. Today, to mark the end of the event, the United Nations provided a marking machine, along the accessories as well as a record keeping device for the FGS.

Additional training and equipment will be required for the FGS to make substantial progress and for it to comply with sanction obligations. The United Nations acknowledges that this is only one component of a broader approach. The United Nations also recognizes that this course is a key step towards assisting the FGS in establishing a comprehensive WAM system in Somalia. To that end, it will continue to support the FGS.

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