The planning team of the Somali Police Force (SPF) have this month carried out a practical police and army coordination training exercise, as part of operational planning for the further deployment of special units of Somali police called the Darwish.
The coordination exercise was the final module of an advanced military planning course jointly supported by the EU Capacity Building Mission in Somalia (EUCAP Somalia), and the EU Military Training Mission in Somalia (EUTM Somalia), to ensure the planners could support Darwish police to work with the Somali National Army in areas liberated from Al Shabaab.
Hugh Moody, project management expert with EUCAP Somalia, said the joint scenario, which was developed by EUCAP police and project advisors, and carried out by EUTM instructors, gave the Somali police planners an opportunity to test their theoretical knowledge of military planning in a real life “table-top” exercise.
“The scenario really examined the police officer’s ability to plan coordination with military troops using realistic challenges of the operations environment in Somalia,” Moody said.
Speaking during the exercise, the EUTM Somalia Force Commander Fabiano Zinzone said cooperation between military and civilian police was essential in Somalia.
“Police are key when carrying out stabilization operations in a mixed civilian-military context, and it’s important that both army and police can work together to ensure transition to civilian rule of law,” Commander Zinzone said.
Major Ahmed Isse Ahmed, Head of the Somali Police Planning Team, said the practical scenario was very useful for his team.
“This exercise, which was carried out over a four-hour period, allowed my Planners Team to operate and rehearse our planning procedures as a cohesive staff unit. We would like to take part in more trainings like this in the future,’ he said.
The combined EU civilian and military mission support to the police planning team and the Darwish is part of work, led by the Somali government, to ensure handover to national security forces and civilian policing from AMISOM, under a Somali Transition Plan agreed in 2018.