Mareeg.com-Baidoa, 17 May 2014 – Members of the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF), the latest AMISOM troop contributing country to deploy in Somalia, graduated in Baidoa on Wednesday after completing a two month Explosive Management course provided by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS).

17 AMISOM soldiers completed the training which focused on Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), Explosive Detection Dog (EDD) handling and awareness in Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). All participants successfully passed the training and will now form specialist teams to respond to EOD and EDD call-outs in the Bay region.

The ceremony was attended by BRIG. General. Gebremedhin Fikadu, ENDF, Sector Commander who congratulated the troops for completing the course and noted the work of UNMAS to be highly valuable and critical to the operations conducted by his troops in the Bay sector.

“I would like to congratulate the graduates for completing this important course. You are all expected to put in practice the theories you have accomplished to effectively support the mission in your areas of responsibility”.

UNMAS Somalia began to collaborate with AMISOM in 2009, through the Explosive Management Support for AMISOM (EMSA) project established to develop a qualified explosive threat management capacity within AMISOM and enable the peacekeeping mission to fulfill its mandate with greater safety and freedom of movement in Somalia.

General. Fikadu, expressed his gratitude to UNMAS for delivering this lifesaving support to his troops and added; “UNMAS Somalia is closely working with the Ethiopian troops in Baidoa to support the peacekeeping mission in providing qualified EOD, and EDD officers to manage and conduct Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) activities within the Bay region. We thank UNMAS for their commitment and hard work in delivering these services and look forward to working with them as they continue to train more AMISOM troops in the future”.

Also present at the ceremony was UNMAS Chief of Operations, Michael Raine who added, “We have a big task ahead. The biggest threat to AMISOM troops are IEDs and it is important that we train more troops now that we are moving into newly liberated areas”.

For further information contact: Hodo Dahir, UNMAS Communications Officer, on tel.  +252 (0) 616 308025 or by e-mail:  hodod@unops.org