African Union  trains Somali security sector actors on deterrence of use child soldiers in conflict

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Nairobi, 20 May 2017 – A ten-day Training of Trainers course for representatives of the Somali Security Sector ended at the International Peace Support Training Centre, in Kenya’s capital Nairobi on Friday, with a commitment to end the recruitment and use of children in conflict.

The training organized by the AMISOM Protection, Human Rights and Gender Unit, in line with AMISOM’s capacity building support to the Federal Government of Somalia, was sponsored by the British Embassy in Somalia in partnership with the British Peace Support Team-East Africa.

The course participants drawn from the federal and regional administrations and AMISOM, were skilled to undertake independent training activities in support of all Pre-deployment, in-mission and other career development courses, related to the use of children as a weapon of war.

“I believe all the participants in this course are now much better prepared in their understanding of how to deal with children in general and child soldiers in particular in a proactive and not a reactive fashion,” Mr. Darin Reeves, the Lead Facilitator from Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative said.

Mr. Reeves emphasized the importance of protecting children in situations of conflict.

“This course was an eye opener. We learnt many things that we didn’t know before,” Col. Osman Sheikh, a participant said at the end of the training.

The course was officially closed by Brigadier Patrick MutaNderitu, the Director of the International Peace and Security Training Centre in Kenya.

“War affects every aspect of a child’s development,” Brigadier Nderitu said.

“Children affected by armed conflict can be injured or killed, uprooted from their homes and communities, internally displaced as refugees, orphaned or separated from their parents and families, subjected to sexual abuse and exploitation, victims of trauma, as a result of being exposed to violence, deprived of education and recreation,” he pointed out, stressing the need to ensure children as not used as a weapon of war.

“It is my sincere hope that the training will enable you chart new ways to help curb the issue of recruiting and use of child soldiers in Somalia”, Brigadier Nderitu concluded.

AMISOM’s Head of Protection, Human Rights and Gender Mr. Kareem Adebayo and AMISOM Child Protection Officer Mr. Musa Donald Gbow were co-facilitators during the 10-day training.

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