UNSOM supports screening of new Somali National Army recruits

12 Jul 2014

UNSOM supports screening of new Somali National Army recruits

Mogadishu - In light of the recent United Nation Report that alleged the presence of child soldiers within the Somali National Army (SNA) and militias allied with the army, the Somali Government and the United Nation Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) begun the screening of recruits hoping to join the military

The recruitment exercise which began at the Jazeera Training Camp in Mogadishu saw over 800 candidates turn up to be screened before they can be attested into the military.
Leopold Kouassi, Child Protection Advisor for UNSOM said that the exercise was part of UN support to the Somali National Army to ensure that it upholds internationally recognized standards, especially on child protection.

“The essence of today’s exercise is providing support for the new national army to ensure that the issue of children is taken seriously” said Leopold adding that UNSOM and other international partner’s aim is to ensure that no child is recruited in the army.

During the recruitment exercise, the partners observed the recruits’ physical features, age and their background. Those who succeeded will go through training so that they can be integrated into the national army.

SNA Chief Instructor at the Jazeera Training Camp, Col Hasssan Mohamed thanked UNSOM for the support, saying the recruitment exercise had gone well.

“We have no child soldiers in the army and the recruits present today are all above the age of 20, similarly, we don’t have any soldiers who have any health problems.” Said Col. Hassan.

The National army supported by AU peacekeepers is engaged in military battle with Al-Shabaab. In the concluded successful joint offensive between the Somali army supported African Union forces saw Al Shabaab lose 10 major towns which were previously under their control.
Once regarded as one of Africa’s best armies, the Somali National Army (SNA) has had better days before its disintegration with the collapse of the central government in 1991. The army is currently restructuring in the hope of restoring calm and order to the country following two decades of incessant conflict.

According to the report, over the last ten years, two million children have been killed in conflict. Over one million have been orphaned, over six million others have been seriously injured or permanently disabled and over ten million have been left with serious psychological trauma.