Djibouti peacekeeping battalion in Somalia : Preparing for an imminent departure
Ali Ouney Camp is doomed for the last year to become a national centre for peacekeeping training capable of hosting countries in the region. It is in this military base that the Djiboutian battalion, on a peacekeeping mission in Somalia, is currently having a specialized training. Defence Chief of Staff, General Zakaria Sheikh Ibrahim, paid an inspection visit within the framework of preparations for the departure of the Djiboutian battalion to Mogadishu.
It was the excitement on Friday, September 16th, at the military camp of Ali Ouney, a town on the borders between Djibouti and Somalia. The soldiers gathered and checked their packages; officers gave the final touches on the organization. Solemn moment.
Preceded on the field by all Djiboutian Armed Forces (FAD) senior executives, General Zakaria arrived on the scene at 7:00 am, and was welcomed on his descent from helicopter by Colonel Ali Soubaneh Chirdon, Acting Defence Deputy Chief of Staff.
The General was accompanied on this occasion by a member of the government, namely the Secretary of State for Youth and Sports, Dr. Djama Elmi Okieh, and the ministry of Finance Director, Dr. Said Hassan Ismail.
The Defence Chief of Staff immediately reviewed the troops composing the Djiboutian battalion; in preparation for a mission of peacekeeping in Somalia as part of AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia), a regional peace mission led by the African Union (AU) sanctioned by UN. Currently there are 5250 soldiers in Somalia, 2550 provided by Burundi and 2700 from Uganda.
In support of these forces on the ground in Somalia, the Djiboutian battalion, mainly composed of FAD elements and placed under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Osman Doubad Sougouleh, has about 900 men, including a legal section of 11 Gendarmes and 20 police officers.
Djiboutian peace battalion in Somalia share the same language, same culture and same religion with Somalis. Waiting for an imminent departure to Mogadishu, they’re pursuing from the beginning of this month, in Ali Ouney camp, a specialized training in the peacekeeping field. This Training is given by operations training detachment of the French forces stationed in Djibouti (FFDJ).
Thus, the inspection of General Zakaria Sheikh Ibrahim was part of preparations for the upcoming departure of the battalion to Somalia. After passing in review the troops, the General conducted a working meeting with FAD senior officers around a breakfast and a thorough inspection of each soldier’s package.
The Djiboutian peace battalion in Somalia is currently awaiting a further inspection: that of an African Union delegation, which will take place later this month. After the AU inspection, their mission will start officially.