Somaliland: EU to Support Training of a Land-Based Coastal Police Force

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By: Yusuf M Hasan

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – EU NAVFOR always welcome the sharing of information and experience as well as cooperation with authorities and security forces in regard to counter piracy.

This was informed by Mr. Timo M. Lange, the Media Operations Officer Naval Force Somalia, during an interview with Somalilandsun in which he also revealed that the European Union’s Comprehensive Approach aims to enhance the maritime capacities of countries in the Horn of Africa and the Western Indian Ocean.

According to the mediops officer the EU Naval Force has had limited contact with the Somaliland Coast Guard since 2009 when the force was establishing itself in the region.

Said he, “the EU NAVFOR always welcome the sharing of information and experience as well as cooperation with authorities and security forces in regard to counter piracy thus ongoing plans to support the Republic of Somaliland with coastal police capabilities”

On this subject, the European Union’s Comprehensive Approach includes aiming at enhancing the maritime capacities of countries in the Horn of Africa and the Western Indian Ocean.

The most recent addition to the Comprehensive approach is the mission EUCAP NESTOR, which is complementing EU Naval Force – Atalanta and EUTM Somalia. Together, EUCAP NESTOR, EU NAVFOR and EUTM form a coherent, integrated CSDP package supporting the EU’s Strategic Framework for the Horn of Africa.

EUCAP NESTOR is a regional strengthening mission aiming at enhancing the maritime capacities of countries in the Horn of Africa and the Western Indian Ocean. This mission will be a civilian mission carried out under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), augmented with military expertise.

It consists of two components addressing two main objectives:

1. Strengthen the sea going maritime capacity of Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, and the Seychelles.

2. Strengthen the Rule of Law sector in Somalia, with an initial focus on the regions of Puntland and Somaliland. In particular, the mission will support the set-up and training of a land-based coastal police force.

Since it allows maximising synergies between civilian and military capabilities, EUCAP NESTOR is an important element in the EU’s comprehensive approach to fighting piracy as a particular form of organised crime. In order to accomplish this mission, the EU has formed strategic partnerships with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Finally, this mission will also work in an integrated and complementary manner with other interventions of the European Union, especially humanitarian aid and development cooperation.

In this regard, informed Mr. Timo M. Lange the Council adopted on 14 November 2011 a “Strategic Framework for the Horn of Africa” to guide the EU’s engagement in the region. It defines five priorities for EU action: building robust and accountable political structures; contributing to conflict resolution and prevention; mitigating security threats emanating from the region; promoting economic growth, and supporting regional economic cooperation.

As part of these efforts, since 1 January 2012, the EU has a Special Representative to the Horn of Africa. A Greek diplomat with extensive experience in Eastern Africa, Alexander Rondos was appointed by the Council in order to actively contribute to regional and international efforts to achieve lasting peace, security and development in the region.

The Somaliland coast guard that has successfully managed to deter piracy within national waters will benefit greatly from the planned support in training and subsequent provision of equipment considering the limitations in which the guard currently operates under.

Apart from 17 out of over a hundred pirates in Somaliland prisons have been arrested by the under equipped coast guard which proves that with better tools and skills the local marine force that incidentally still falls under the management of the interior ministry would significantly help reduce and ultimately eliminate piracy.

While the EU has not yet released a timetable of planned support to the coast guard it is anticipated that once the EUCAP NESTOR is fully operation the training program will commence.

The EU NAVFOR Force Headquarters (FHQ) handover ceremony in Djibouti on Monday 6 August 2012, between warships FS MARNE (French Navy) and ITS SAN GUISTO (Italian Navy) will see outgoing EU NAVFOR Force Commander, Rear Admiral Jean-Baptiste Dupuis (French Navy) handover to the incoming Force Commander, Rear Admiral (LH) Enrico Credendino (Italian Navy)

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