Italy to train Somali police force on counter terrorism

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KAMPALA, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- An Italian specialized unit is to train the Somali police force in counter terrorism operations in a bid to rid the horn of African country of terrorist groups.

Franco Frattini, Italian Foreign Minister told reporters here on Friday on a one-day visit to Uganda that the anti-terrorism group will be trained in Kenya if the Kenyan government okeys the idea.

"We offered yesterday to President Sheik Sharif (Somali President) .. to establish a very robust police anti-terrorist unit, trained by the Italian Carabinieri," he said shortly after a meeting with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

Uganda is one of the countries contributing peacekeepers to the African Union peacekeeping mission in the volatile country.

Frattini said there is need for international cooperation to address the Somalia problem because terrorist groups are using it as a transit center to Africa and the rest of the world.

"The problem is an international one, not a problem affecting Uganda or Kenya or Ethiopia or Somalia only," he said, noting that the international community can not talk about the origin of terrorist groups without addressing destination countries like Somalia.

He said Italy will also train some officials of the Somali Coast Guard in stopping piracy in the Gulf of Aden.

The African Union early last month said there is an urgent need to address the Somalia problem as terrorist groups under pressure from the American troops in Afghanistan are relocating to Somalia.

According to the continental body, al Qaeda already has links with the al Shabaab, a militia group fighting the Somali government.

Somalia has been plagued by civil strife since the overthrow of military strongman Siad Barre in 1991.

Editor: yan