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EU provides military equipment to Somali army to combat al-Shabab

By Xinhua

   MOGADISHU, July 7 (Xinhua) -- The European Union said it has handed over military equipment to the Somali National Army (SNA) to help them fight against the al-Shabab terrorist group as the African Union peacekeepers are withdrawing from the country.
   The EU said the equipment under the European Peace Facility (EPF) aims at enhancing the capacities of the armed forces in view of the security transition, in close coordination with the work of the EU Training Mission in Somalia (EUTM-S).
   "Strengthening the capacity of Somalia security and governance actors in order to take over responsibility to protect their people is a key objective of the EU as a strategic partner of Somalia," Thomas Kieler, charge d'affaires at the EU Delegation to Somalia, said in a statement issued Thursday evening.
   The EU said the fifth handover of military equipment followed specialized training delivered by the EUTM-S which saw all beneficiary soldiers undergo training on international human rights and humanitarian law prior to receiving equipment.
   The EU said several pre-identified units were also provided with EU-funded, non-lethal military equipment to the Somali army to combat the militants who have engaged the security forces and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) forces in near-daily attacks.
   The EU said this military equipment is part of a series of three consecutive EU support packages in support of the SNA since 2020, amounting to a total of 70.82 million U.S. dollars and implemented by the UN Office for Project Services.
   "The EU engagement aims at building operational capabilities of the SNA, thereby contributing to the Somali security forces and institutions taking over full security responsibilities as ATMIS draws down," the EU said, adding that the support focuses on the provision of non-lethal equipment to eight battalions in total, and on infrastructure works, in complementarity with EUTM-Somalia's mandate, which focuses on training, mentoring and advising the SNA.
   The ATMIS on June 30 completed handing over seven militaries and withdrawing 2,000 troops in compliance with UN Security Council Resolutions 2628 and 2670 that require the ATMIS to gradually hand over security responsibilities to Somali security forces.  Enditem
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