SOMALIA: AMISOM to hand over University to the Somali government
Mogadishu (RBC Radio) AMISOM is finalizing plans to hand over Somali National University, which has been under its control for more than half a decade, to the Federal Government.
The Burundi AMISOM military contingent, has been using the university as its command headquarters until recently when a decision was reached to relocate the troops to Jowhar to pave way for the repossession of the facility by the Somali government.
The educational institution is currently being rehabilitated by AMISOM officers to ensure it is handed over to the Federal Government in good condition.
At a pre-planning meeting, held this week, the Rector of Somali National University (SNU), Mohamed Ahmed Jimale, welcomed the decision, saying it will be used to impart knowledge and expand opportunities available for Somali youths.
Mr. Jimale noted that the institution has symbolic significance to Somalia and handing it over to the government will send a powerful message to the rest of the world that Somalia is on the right path to recovery.
“If you leave this campus operational, it will show the world that AMISOM, especially the Burundi contingent, left behind a golden place that can produce professional workforce that Somalia will need for its developmental programmes. I thank AMISOM and the Burundi contingent for this initiative,” Mr. Jimale stated.
The meeting was attended by top AMISOM officials led by Dr. Walters Samah, the AMISOM Political Affairs Officer and Ms. Fouzia Warsame and Mr. Hassan Osman Ga’al, both Deans at the University, among others.
Dr. Samah noted it was crucial that all stakeholders plan on how to effectively use the facility for the benefit of Somalis after the handover.
“There needs to be a government plan to effectively occupy the facility. It is not only about the infrastructure. How to effectively occupy may require even bringing the police at some point. Effectively occupying it is most important and it has to do with the use of the land and the facility. This takes the involvement of the ministry, the government and the need to vote a budget to effectively occupy this place,” Dr. Samah stated.
Ms. Fouzia, hailed the move by AMISOM, noting that the handover of the facility will boost social development and also present the Somali youth with more opportunities.
“I think our youth are capable but they just need opportunities and this university is a symbol of that opportunity,” Ms. Fouzia explained.
Efforts have been underway since mid this year by AMISOM; the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) and the Burundi National Defence Forces (BNDF) for a successful handover of the facility to the Federal Government of Somalia.
The BNDF have been vacating the premises in phases, and has over the last few months, been sprucing up the facility remains in good condition.
Maj. Raymond Kemei, from the AMISOM Mission Enabling Unit, which is helping with the environmental cleanup said, “Our task is to fill in the pits that were created when the Burundi troops were living here and to clear the containers that were left behind. We are also clearing the concrete barriers and leveling the ground so that the facility is in good condition and can be handed over to the Federal Government of Somalia.”