ATMIS, SNA soldiers conclude training on enhanced military operations

Thirty-two Africa Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) and Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers have concluded training on Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) held in Mogadishu, Somalia, which was facilitated by the United Kingdom Mission Support Team (UKMST) and the United Nations Field Technology Services.

The five-day training honed the soldiers’ skills in intelligence gathering and processing, surveillance and reconnaissance. It was also an opportunity to transfer skills to the Somali Security Forces, as they prepare to take full responsibility of Somalia’s security.

“I am pleased that we had so many SNA soldiers and officers on this course,” said ATMIS Deputy Force Commander in charge of Support and Logistics, Maj Gen. Gerbi Kebede Regassa.

“This is one small step closer to our ultimate objective of handing over responsibility to the Somali Security Forces,” he said.

The Officer Commanding UKMST, Lt Col Jeremy Sapwell, said the course equipped the personnel with skills in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, which are vital in defeating al-Shabaab.

“I want to underline that ISR is a critical capability in modern military operations and important to ATMIS. With the effective use of ISR and its integration into operational planning process, you can identify the enemy and uncover his intentions and help protect and support your forces,” Lt Col Sapwell said.

ISR and tactical drones are important to monitoring and limiting the movement of enemy combatants and have been credited with some of the successes in the fight against al-Shabaab in Somalia.

The drones, provided by the US Department of State, have supported joint operations with SNA. Through use of drones, ATMIS and SNA soldiers have prevented Al-Shabaab from planting IEDs that often kill and injure innocent civilians. The drones have also protected movement of convoys and civilians along main supply routes and uncovered Al-Shabaab elements from their hideouts.

Sgt. Stanely Muriuki from the ATMIS Kenya contingent, who received a certificate at the end of the training, said, “I have gained valuable knowledge which will go a long way in advancing the mission’s goals through application of enhanced aviation and intelligence skills.”