Somalia National Army marks its 54th anniversary

MOGADIIU (CIHAN)- On Saturday (12 Mar), a ceremony was held to mark the Somali National Army (SNA) 54th anniversary.

Once regarded as one of Africa’s best armies, the SNA has disintegrated with the collapse of the central government in 1991.

More recently, numerous militias have been integrated into SNA and trained by the US, European Union and other foreign entities.
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The celebrationcomes at the end of a successful joint offensive with African Union forces to capture the territories under control of Al Qaeda affiliated group Al Shabaab.

Somalia’s Chief of Defence Forces, Major General Dahir Aden Elmi was confident of his forces’ potential in restoring calm and order to the country following two decades of incessant conflict.

“The Somali National Army was established as part of an effort to ensure there was a force to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Somali Republic,” said Gen. Elmi adding that “this force was expected to counter internal and external threats so that Somali citizens could live freely without fear in their country.”

Despite the exuberance, challenges still abound. Chronic underfunding has meant most soldiers go for months without pay while the army’s inventory largely consists of decrepit Soviet-era equipment. New vehicles donated in recent months are too few to move more than twenty thousand troops that comprise the different units within the SNA.

Promising to address these challenges, Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud urged soldiers to seize the opportunity to write a new chapter in the army’s history.

“There’s a long history created by the people before us our founding fathers, both military officers and political leaders, who built the Somali National Army and as a result gained their stature and standing in society until today,” said President Mohamud.

“The fact that this history is still treasured is a testament to the importance of the Somali National Army. Today we are witnessing a second chance to make history. A lot of people will again enter the history books for their participation in the rebuilding of the SNA,” he added.

Estimates put Somali army at more than 10,000 troops strong, but their allegiances are split due to clan loyalties, the interests of loosely incorporated local militias, and inconsistent salaries.

SHOTLIST:
12 APRIL 2014, MOGADISHU, SOMALIA
Source:unifeed

Somali National Army troops marching.
Somali National Army troops marching.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and senior Military staff on the dais.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and senior Military staff on the dais.
Somali National Army commandos marching
President and senior Military staff observe the marching from the dais.
Somali National Army vehicles drive by the dais.
Somali National Army vehicles drive by the dais.
Somali national flag
President and senior Military staff move to the Gaashandiga Military base auditorium.
Guests and Government Officials in attendance
President and senior government officials in attendance.
Guests listen to speeches.
Guests listen to speeches
SNA’s Horseed Military Band performs for the guests.
SNA’s Horseed Military Band performs for the guests.

SOUND BITE (English) Maj. Gen Dahir Aden Elmi, Somali CDF:
“The Somali National Army was established as part of an effort to ensure there was a force to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Somali Republic. This force was expected to counter internal and external threats so that Somali citizens could live freely without fear in their country.”

SOUND BITE (English) Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Somali President:
“There’s a long history created by the people before us our founding fathers, both military officers and political leaders, who built the Somali National Army and as a result gained their stature and standing in society until today. The fact that this history is still treasured is a testament to the importance of the Somali National Army. Today we are witnessing a second chance to make history. A lot of people will again enter the history books for their participation in the rebuilding of the SNA.”

DURATION: 02:34
C

SOURCE: CIHAN