During the past week, two European Union missions, EUCAP Nestor and EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia Operation Atalanta, have worked together on two operations for the benefit of the Somaliland Coast Guard.
The first operation involved the transportation and handing over of five 4-wheel-drive vehicles to the Coast Guard of Somaliland. The vehicles were a donation from EUCAP Nestor to support the activities of the Somaliland Coast Guard and were transported by sea from the port of Djibouti to Berbera by EU Naval Force ship, RFA Lyme Bay. Upon their arrival in Berbera, the vehicles were handed over to the Commander of the Somaliland Coast Guard, Admiral Abdi Hirse Duale, during a ceremony held on board RFA Lyme Bay on Wednesday 13 November.
The cooperation between the European Union and the Somaliland Coast Guard continued when 10 junior officers from the Somaliland Coast Guard and one prosecutor from Somaliland went on board RFA Lyme Bay to participate in a four-day ‘evidence handling for maritime crimes’ training programme, that was jointly organised and carried out by experienced EUCAP Nestor and EU NAVFOR trainers.
The training took place between 10 – 13 November, with a focus on the “crime to court” process, aimed at discussing the chain of actions with regard to evidence handling in the different stages from incident to conviction. The training programme also covered the appropriate treatment and rights of arrested people, criminal charges and the transfer of investigation/jurisdiction from the navy/coast guard to the police. On the legal side, the participating prosecutor from Somaliland gave a presentation on the local criminal justice system and legislation difficulties. The EUCAP Nestor team concentrated on the police and legal part of the training, with EU NAVFOR staff providing a maritime input to the process.
Speaking about the event, French police commander and EUCAP Nestor team leader, Jean-Eric Troubat, stated “The training was a success, thanks to all the participants, who were highly motivated. Despite the seas being very rough due to the heavy storm that hit the Somali coast, everybody concentrated on the training right until the end.”
The training finished on 13 November, with a ceremony attended by Admiral Abdi and Colonel Ahmed Ali Salah from the Somaliland Coast Guard. Certificates were handed over to all the training participants.
“This training was extremely useful to enhance the skills of our coast guard” said Admiral Abdi, at the ceremony. “It will help us to develop skills for dealing with crime scenes at sea, and I hope that there will be many more trainings to come. Both EU missions, EU NAVFOR and EUCAP Nestor have made big efforts to make this event a success.”
EUCAP Nestor is a civilian led European Union mission aimed at enhancing maritime capacities of countries in the Horn of Africa and the Western Indian Ocean and started its operations in July 2012. Its Headquarter is located in Djibouti.
The EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia Operation Atalanta deters, prevents and represses acts of piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia since 2008. The EU Naval Force protects World Food Programme vessels delivering aid to Somalia and AMISOM shipping. The EU Naval Force also contributes to the monitoring of fishing activity off the Somali Coast.
Press Release, November 20, 2013; Image: EU Navfor