Somalia army chief concludes trip to KDF facilities in Kenya
NAIROBI, Kenya - The Chief of Defense Forces of Somalia National Army [SNA] General Odowaa Yusuf Rageh has concluded his two-day working trip to Kenya where he visited various Kenya Defense Forces [KDF] facilities across the East Africa nation, terming the visit as "very informative and necessary for defense cooperation".
After being hosted by his Kenyan counterpart General Robert Kibochi, Rageh, 36, the youngest head of the military within the region, paid homage to the KDF School of Infantry in Isiolo. The Infantry battalion is known for defending the nation by directly fighting the enemy on the battlefield in combat.
On his second day, General Rageh toured the Kenya Military Academy in Nakuru which trains Cadets where he was ushered in by Commandant Major General Fatuma Ahmed. The Commander and his entourage were later flown to Embakasi in Nairobi, where he visited both the Humanitarian Peace Support Training Centre [HPSS] and the Defence Forces Technical Training College [DEFTEC].
During the trip, KDF said in a statement, General Odawaa and his delegation were taken through elaborate briefs covering the institutions’ respective mandates and an extensive tour of the training facilities and programs with a scope spanning from foundational to advanced military training and education vital in shaping the modern-day soldier.
In each of the institutions he visited, the KDF Service Personnel made presentations and shared experiences with the visiting team. All visits presented benchmarking opportunities and open a platform for future exchange programs between the two militaries, KDF said.
On his part, Brigadier General Odowaa expressed gratitude for a warm reception and an incisive tour of the KDF. “My visit here has been an eye-opener in various aspects. The lessons we have shared and the exposure we have gained will go a long way in deepening our defense cooperation as we move forward as a team,” he said at the tail end of his tour of duty.
The young commander said Somalia picks lessons from Kenya as it walks through the difficult journey of meeting demands to face contemporary security threats. His trip comes days after frontline nations led by Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti promised to deploy more soldiers to Somalia in the wake of heightened campaigns against Al-Shabaab.
Already, Ethiopia has dispatched troops who will be joining their counterparts serving in the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS]. It is anticipated that once the three countries deploy non-ATMIS troops, the number would rise from the current 22,000 to about 25,000 but the number might reduce after 2024, the year when ATMIS is supposed to leave Somalia.
He further commended the institutions he had visited as ideal model training centers that meet the demands of the trainees to face contemporary security threats. The visit comes in the wake of the onset of a gradual drawdown of troops serving under the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) and the subsequent reconfiguration and training of Somalia Security Forces to take over the security mandate and responsibility from ATMIS Forces.