The police component of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is conducting a 10-day training course on countering Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) for the Somali Police Force (SPF) in Mogadishu.

The training is aimed at equipping SPF officers with vital skills on preventing, disposing and countering IED attacks by the Al-Shabaab militants.

IEDs have become Al-Shabaab’s weapon of choice in its asymmetrical warfare in the major towns and main supply routes have been singled out as the biggest threat to Somalia’s security and stability.

Speaking during the training, Inspector of Police (IP), Hassan Guhad Abdullahi, AMISOM Police Counter Terrorism Trainer, noted that the training was critical given that IEDs are currently the commonly used weapon by Al-Shabaab militants to cause death and destruction in the country.

“They (trainees) learned to identify opportunities that these perpetrators can use to infiltrate and carry out (IED) attacks, and therefore have a kind of preventive and proactive approach to seal those opportunities and deny the bad guys so that this does not happen,” IP Hassan from the Kenya Police Service noted.

The officers were taken through a number of topics focusing on countering the use of IEDs and securing civilians.

“One of the main things they learned is how to deny the bad guys the opportunity and also to degrade their capability to do so, based on intelligence,” IP Hassan explained.

During the training, the officers carried out mock drills, on how to respond to various scenarios, related to an IED attack.

Abdi Aden Ga’al, an SPF officer, described the training as timely, adding that it will help security personnel to effectively counter the use of IEDs.

“I have learned a lot of valuable things which will help me and my colleagues and the Somali Police Force. It (training) was very beneficial, with regard to my profession,” said Mr. Abdi, one of the 15 SPF officers attending the training.

The 10-day training is funded by the Japanese government through the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

AMISOM Police has conducted similar training in the federal member states of South West and Jubbaland, where it trained a similar number of police officers in each state.