The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) will soon receive a boost with the deployment of ninety Ghanaian police officers to strengthen the Peace Support Operations mandated by the African Union.
At the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) the officers are currently undergoing the intense pre-deployment training which is expected to round up with a closing ceremony on October 25, 2013.
The training is financed by the German Federal Foreign Office (AA) and implemented with the support of German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). Germany has supported the KAIPTC since 2009 in training over 1200 police officers for deployment to AMISOM, UNAMID and other ECOWAS missions.
At least 12 facilitators drawn from six countries are on hand to deliver classroom-based course modules and field-based activities such as Vehicle Handling, Mine Awareness and Basic Life Support. One of the facilitators of the programme, Chief Supt. Oeyvind Nilsen of the Norwegian Police Service, explained that his unique contribution to the training process is based on his experience in Norway as well as missions in East Timor, Liberia, and Rwanda. Similarly another facilitator, Supt. Patrick Johnson, the head of Peacekeeping Missions in Sierra Leone, added that his experience in the post-conflict rebuilding process of his home country has been drawn for the ongoing training.
“Sierra Leone has gone through war, and very traumatic conflict and there was need for us to reform, restructure, and rebuild our police service. I have practical experience of this process from a country coming from war,” he said.
The course participants have said that the training has served to prepare them psychologically and physically for the task ahead. ASP Bridget Dzakpasu, a Deputy District Commander who has served in the Ghana Police Force for 25 years, says that the pictorial presentations during the training has provided very useful and practical tools to prepare her for the imminent deployment to Somalia. She is one of the fourteen female participants in the current programme.
With the exact deployment date yet to be determined, KAIPTC’s Police Training Course Director, Supt. Fanny Aboagye, says that the ongoing training provides a critical contribution to AMISON by reducing time wastage.
“It could take up to 2 weeks to a month to settle into the mission before you can start work. But with the pre-deployment training, they mostly get to the mission and they are able to start immediately. This is where the KAIPTC comes in because we fill in the gap between the selection of the officers and their deployment,” she said.
The KAIPTC has recently conducted similar trainings for 60 Nigerian police officers in preparation for redeployment to the African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID). In the coming months, the centre will provide further trainings for Police officers from Burkina Faso as well as middle Management Courses for officers in Mali.