UK troops will not serve in combat, says president Mohamud

President Mohamud has assured the public that the role of the proposed British troops to be deployment in Somalia will not serve in a combat role but would act as advisers and trainers to the national armed forces fighting rebel group fighters in parts of the country.Responding to questions filed by journalists in Cairo during his meeting with Somali community members in the area, president Mohamud revealed that his government sought the help of British government in training and strengthening of Somalia’s armed forces.

He said a technical group from the two countries was formed to look into the details of the agreement between his government and the UK.

Britain is to deploy soldiers to Somalia for the first time in an attempt to beef up its military influence in some of the world’s worst troublespots.

A small team of British Army advisers will be sent to Mogadishu in the spring when, if security allows, an embassy is also due to open, the Times reported on Thursday.

Ministry of Defence sources said that the Embassy Defence Section would not serve in a combat role but would act as advisers and trainers to African Union forces engaged in protracted fighting with the al-Shabaab movement, which is allied to al-Qaeda.

The deployment comes less than five month after the newly elected Somalia government asked the head of the British Army for more help to train its fledgling forces as they battle Islamist militants affiliated to al-Qaeda.

The request came when General Sir Peter Wall became the first senior British military officer to visit Mogadishu in more than two decades.

In mid last year, the UK has established a small military presence in Somalia.

The British Ministry of Defence said a team of 10 military advisers were stationed at the headquarters of the African Union force in the capital, Mogadishu, saying that they do not have a combat role as their job was to help the AU with planning, communications and medical support.

Some of the alleged advisers were seen in Afgoye, a strategic town west of the capital now under the control of government forces.

Somalia has been without a functioning central authority since 1991 and has been wracked by fighting ever since – a situation that has allowed piracy and lawlessness to flourish.


Original Article