The first batch of 2400 troops from the federal member states have been integrated into the Somali National Army in a ceremony that marks the firsts step in strengthening the SNA to fight the al Shabaab. The 2,400 Darwish troops from Puntland officially joined the national army in a ceremony held in the 54th camp of the Puntland forces in Garowe.
Puntland deputy president Abdihakim Abdullahi Amay said the integration was the beginning of an exercise which had taken a long time to be implemented. The Federal government will take up the responsibility of paying the soldiers as well as taking care of their welfare.
During the ceremony attended by military chief Sa’id Mohamed Hers, the defence minister Mohamed Ali Hagaa called on the new troops to do their best in defending the country. “Today is the beginning of integration starting with Puntland. You have to double your efforts to fight against the enemy.”
The plan to integrate all regional forces was hatched in 2015, and every region is expected to contribute 3000 troops to the national army. The integration was revamped in October after the deadly Mogadishu attack that claimed the lives of over 300 people. The integrated force is expected to launch a major onslaught against the al Shabaab backed with the US and AMISOM troops deployed in Somalia.