Hampshire-based soldiers finish training African troops to battle deadly al-Shabaab jihardists
BRITISH troops have passed on their deadly combat skills to Somali soldiers battling a fanatical terror group.
A 26-strong team from the 2nd Battalion, Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (PWRR) – Portsmouth’s local infantry unit – successfully completed training 113 Somali soldiers.
During an eight-week stint, the British troops taught their African counterparts how to hunt and kill terrorists as well as deal with improvised explosives.
It’s part of a campaign to wage war on Islamist terrorists from al-Shabaab, which is determined to topple Somalia’s government and impose its own harsh interpretation of Islamic law.
The murderous fanatics – who have links to al-Qaeda – terrorise Somalians, regularly carrying out major gun and bomb attacks in the nation's embattled capital of Mogadishu.
The involvement of PWRR, nicknamed the Tigers, brings the number of British-trained Somali troops to 500.
Armed forces minister James Heappey said: ‘This milestone shows Britain’s ongoing commitment to help Somalia provide security and stability for its people, while combating terrorist groups that threaten the UK’s interests at home and abroad.
‘The United Kingdom and our armed forces will continue to support Somalia, with plans to double the number of troops trained under this scheme in 2021.’
Portsmouth’s MPs, Tory Penny Mordaunt and Labour's Stephen Morgan, united to pay tribute to the personnel of 2PWRR.
Shadow armed forces minister Mr Morgan said: ‘This is great news and it is another fine example of our city’s contribution to supporting global security and stability.
‘Extremism must be tackled in all its forms and in this ever more interconnected world, our global partners’ security interests are our interests too.’
While former defence secretary Ms Mordaunt added: ‘I have visited our troops in Somalia several times over the years. What they are doing there makes a huge contribution to stopping terrorism.
‘Building capacity in other defence forces is a major part of this and I congratulate and thank 2PWRR on delivering this important training.’
The eight-week Company Collective Training course is designed to prepare officers and soldiers from the Somali National Army (SNA) to carry out security operations in the country’s south west state, countering the threat from al-Shabaab and other jihadist and criminal organisations.
As well as teaching the African troops combat skills, the British training team also honed the Somali’s marksmanship and first aid abilities.
The contingent are the fifth Somali company trained by Britain since the course was rolled out in the country in September 2019.
The UK aims to train a further five more companies, made up of about 600 troops over the next year.