By United Nations
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17 January - The United Nations envoy for Somalia today inaugurated a programme through which some 500 Somali police recruits will be trained in neighbouring Djibouti with funding provided by Japan as part of international efforts to strengthen the capacity of the Somali interim authorities to improve security.

Augustine P. Mahiga, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, said security was a key pillar of efforts to restore peace and stability in the Horn of Africa country, and a priority of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

Speaking at the ceremony to launch the training at the Djibouti Police Academy, Mr. Mahiga commended the Government of Djibouti for its cooperation with the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), terming the partnership “an outstanding example of support by regional actors.”

He thanked Japan for its “significant” contribution of $10 million to the UNPOS Trust Fund for security sector institutions, without which this new project and training would not have been possible.

The funds will be used to pay stipends and salaries and meet the cost of equipment such as vehicles and communications equipment, and the rehabilitation of police infrastructure in the Somalia capital, Mogadishu, under the UNPOS police project.

Mr. Mahiga, speaking in the presence of Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and his Djiboutian counterpart, Ismail Omar Guelleh, acknowledged the support of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Civil Police Unit and the Somali Police Force Senior Management Team for their efforts in making the training possible.

“Security in Somalia is one of the main challenges and we need a well-trained, disciplined force with high morale, to be able to provide sustenance to our security forces and their families and to motivate them with regular stipends,” said Mr. Mahiga.

In a related development, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appointed Christian Manahl of Austria as his Deputy Special Representative for Somalia.

Mr. Manahl has served as Director of the Political Affairs Division in the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) since June 2010, and has held a number of posts with the European Union during his career.

He brings to the position “a wealth of experience in conflict prevention and management, governance, rule of law, strategic and contingency planning, institutional cooperation, and the mobilisation and coordination of assistance,” stated a news release.