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August 2, 2011: The EU (European Union) is extending, for another year, its training operation in Uganda, where Somali volunteers are trained as soldiers for the Somali TNG (Transitional National Government). The EU has 150 training personnel there, from over a dozen countries. Begun in May of last year, the EU operation can train 2,000 troops a year.

But that’s only half the job. Once the trained troops return to Mogadishu (where the TNG is based) there are problems keeping the new soldiers on the job. The TNG troops tend to desert because of corruption among TNG officials. Stealing money meant to pay the troops, or buy food and other supplies, often causes the new TNG battalions to fall apart, or go rogue (become bandits or work for some warlord who can pay and feed you on time).  The EU training effort is in addition to others, which have produced 3,000 trained troops. But many of these have deserted because of lack of pay and TNG support in general.

The EU training program is six months long, and includes special training for NCOs and officers. Meanwhile, the nations providing cash aid for the TNG have applied pressure to reduce the corruption, and see that the troops get paid. Some TNG officials are opposed to the training program, believing it will just produce better fighters for warlords, or that one of the many factions of the TNG may use the trained troops to try and establish another dictatorship (like the one that was overthrown in 1990 and replaced by two decades of chaos.)

 


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