Irish troops are training 2,000 soldiers to help fight Somali pirates who have plagued international shipping.
The five Irish soldiers, who include a member of the Army Rangers, are giving the Somali troops the skills to fight effectively. They are carrying out the training at an army base in Uganda — which is considered safer than war-torn Somalia.
The EU training mission for Somali forces was set up following a decision earlier this year to make the commitment as part of the security and defence policy brought in under the Lisbon Treaty. It is the first time the existence of the mission, which began in February, has been publicly revealed.
Commandant Ronan Corcoran said one of the key aims was to improve the fighting skills of the troops so they could tackle the activities of Somali pirates on land.
“Until there is security on the ground, they can’t be security at sea because these pirates have to come back into ports,” he said.
EU-NAVFOR, the European Union Naval Force, is protecting shipping off the coast of Somalia from piracy. The Somali troops are being taught how use AK-47 assault rifles in built-up areas and how to counter improvised explosive devices.