Troops from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on patrol in the town of Burdubow. The town was liberated from Al-Shabaab militants on March 9 in a joint operation by AMISOM and the Somali National Army (SNA). (UN Photo/Mahamud Hassan)
The Peace Support Operations Division of the African Union specially requested ACCORD’s presence at this re-evaluation of AMISOM’s practices.
The Training for Peace Program at ACCORD (TfP/ACCORD), was requested by the Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD) of the African Union (AU) in partnership with the British Peace Support Team (East Africa), to attend the Fourth Lessons Learned Conference to capture lessons from AMISOM’s operations and understand the current threat and dynamics, as the basis for Pre-deployment Training within ongoing operations. Further, it provided the opportunity to understand areas of strength and weakness at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels. The conference provided a platform for parties involved in AMISOM to share their experiences and lessons learnt for the common good, in order that it may inform and enhance the continued development of AMISOM Pre-deployment Training, as well as its Tactics, Techniques and Procedures, and thus contribute to AMISOM’s continued operational success.
The Conference was held from 17-22 March 2014 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It was attended by international partners such as the Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA), the African Union (AU), Bancroft, Combine Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), the European Union (EU), Field Head Quarters Staffs (FHQ), Mission Head Quarters Staffs (MHQ), the United Nations Support Office for Somalia (UNSOA), the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU), the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), the European Union Training Team (EUTM), the African Peace Support Trainers Association (APSTA), the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), and delegations from the Troop Contributing Countries of Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Uganda. The participation of these different institutions provided a platform for increased communication, strengthening stakeholder collaboration and coordination on Pre-deployment Training, Mission Support, Command and Control, Joint Operations and Training of Somalia National Army, Multi-dimensional Mission Activity, and the threat of Improvised Explosive Devises. TfP/ACCORD was represented by Ms Olivia Victoria Davies – Peacekeeping Unit Programme Officer and Mr Kwezi Mngqibisa – Coordinator, Somalia Project Initiative.
With a view to address the operational challenges faced by the mission, the conference was facilitated to identify the different Pre-deployment training, mission support, command and control challenges experienced at all levels, and draw out key lessons to better these areas. Further, the mission was able to discuss its protection of civilians challenges, particularly the need to have a standard training for all Troop and Police-contributing countries. By focusing on the specific context of Somalia, the conference provided a forum to discuss the challenges of lengthy lines of communication, the mainstreaming of media training in Pre-deployment training, the understanding of responsibilities in initial stabilisation areas, and the role of UNSOA in facilitating logistics support for AMISOM. The discussions advanced creative joint modalities between the AU Peace Support Operations Division, AMISOM and key partners on how to move forward in addressing increased insecurity, collaborative work flow processes, training needs, mission support needs, the need for clearly established standard operating procedures, unclear roles and responsibilities and critical issues relating to child soldiers and disengaged combatant.
The AMISOM Lessons Learned Conference will contribute towards the strengthening of AMISOM’s operational capabilities and the Somalia National Armed Forces. The recommendations proffered will help to operationalised and streamline coordination mechanism at all levels of operation. If implemented, it will further address key issues related to an effective mandate implementation. This initiative is in line with the TfP Programme’s strategic goal for an improved sustainable capacity for peace operations on the continent, through ensuring that functional organisational systems are in place in the UN, AU and RECs using relevant policy frameworks mandated by the UN, AU and RECs. This engagement is linked to the Unit’s support to AMISOM in the development of a mission-specific PoC implementation strategy, for the successful implementation of PoC considerations – focusing on strengthening respect for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in AMISOM’s Operations to ensure the mission protects civilians in its areas of operation.
The Training for Peace in Africa Programme is an initiative funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.