Mogadishu, 11 September 2017 – The African Union has honoured a contingent of Nigerian police officers for its role in securing peace in Somalia.

The officers who have completed their tour of duty were awarded medals and certificates at a ceremony held in Mogadishu on Friday.

Speaking at the function on Friday AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia) Police Commissioner, Brig. Gen. Anand Pillay, hailed the officers for their efforts in aiding Somalia hold a successful electoral process that culminated in the election of a new President and members of parliament.

“You came here at the time when you were needed most, especially to support the Somalis in the parliamentary and presidential elections, which you all have supported very well,” Brig. Pillay noted.

The Police Commissioner said the officers were at the centre of activities and plans that ensured Somalia had a successful election and eventual inauguration of a new president.

He was however saddened that the contingent was rotating out at a time when their services were needed the most, especially during the transition period and also after the recent UN Security Council Resolution 2372, which called for the scaling up of the size of AMISOM Police.

“The transition means that there will be a scaling down of AMISOM uniformed personnel and we will be required to start handing over the security responsibilities to the Somali National Security Forces. It is a difficult time because we are going to get new people and a lot of the experienced people are leaving. But we will have to manage,” Brig. Pillay noted.

The UN Security Council, under the resolution 2372, decided the downsizing of uniformed personnel, the first ever, will include a minimum of 1,040 AMISOM police personnel and five Formed Police Units.

Presently, of the six Police Contributing Countries (PCCs), only Nigeria and Uganda have both FPUs and IPOs serving on the Mission, while the rest deployed only the latter.

Brig. Gen. Pillay also thanked the Nigerian government for deploying the officers to the Mission, saying the move has helped AMISOM execute its mandate.

“From the African Union side, we also like to thank you for making yourselves available to serve in AMISOM and at the same time, to thank your country Nigeria for making the commitment and the contribution to this Mission in Somalia and to peace in Somalia,” he noted.

IPOs are tasked with mentoring, advising and training the Somali Police Force (SPF), with whom they collocate at various police stations in Mogadishu and in the federal states.

Nigeria is one of the six PCCs to AMISOM; others are Kenya, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Uganda and Zambia.