Boosting Jubbaland police capacity to dispose of deadly unexploded ordnances

A Somali Police Explosive Ordnance Disposal team member puts on protective clothing assisted by colleagues before the start of a training excercise to manually disarm a mock explosive device in Mogadishu, Somalia, on April 13, 2017. UN Photo / Tobin Jones

13 Apr 2017

Boosting Jubbaland police capacity to dispose of deadly unexploded ordnances

A team of 10 Somali police officers from Jubbaland state  are being trained by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Explosive Ordinance Disposal to help boost security in Somalia’s federal states.  Officials say this course is timely given the increasing use of improvised explosive devices by the violent extremist organization Al-Shabaab.

“The training is about building a sustainable capacity within the Somali Police Force to mitigate the explosive threats throughout Somalia,” said Patrick McCabe, Project Manager, UNMAS Police Explosive Ordinance Disposal  Project. He said they hope to have two Jubbaland Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams operational soon after training, which ends on 20 April.

“We have got police officers from Jubbaland who are here conducting conventional munitions disposal training and improvised explosive devices (IED) disposal training. What you saw this morning was the teams doing IED disposal training using the remote operated vehicle and the Explosive Ordinance Disposal suit,” said Mr. McCabe.

Jubbaland becomes the fourth state to benefit from the specialized training, joining South West State, HirShabelle and Puntland, whose police officers have already benefited from the Voluntary Trust Project, funded by the Japanese Government.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia and the African Union Mission in Somalia have singled out the use of IEDs as the major threat to Somalia’s stabilization process. An appeal has been made to the international community to help Somali security forces acquire the necessary skills and expertise to protect communities from IEDs.

“The IED threat has become more prevalent because Al-Shabaab has changed tactics to asymmetric warfare and the perfect tool for asymmetric warfare is the IED because it is a very indiscriminate weapon and can be placed anywhere and against any kind of target,” Mr. McCabe explained. He noted that plans are underway to extend similar training to police in Galmudug state. Apart from training officers, the states are also given the necessary equipment to enable their personnel to execute their duties.