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Cablegate: Somalia - Un Official's Positive Assessment of Tfg Troops

VZCZCXRO5110
RR RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNR #0120 0220852
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 220851Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0485
INFO SOMALIA COLLECTIVE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEILB/NCTC WASHINGTON DC
RUEPADJ/CJTF-HOA J2X CAMP LEMONIER DJ

UNCLAS NAIROBI 000120

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV SO MOPS
SUBJECT: SOMALIA - UN Official's Positive Assessment of TFG Troops

1. (SBU) Summary. On January 16 we met with a UN officer
Sheikh Wade, who was just back from visiting Transitional Federal
Government (TFG) troops camped in the Jazeera area of Mogadishu.
Wade was generally impressed by the troops' discipline and
demeanor, though their living conditions were austere. All TFG
troops were armed and uniformed. Wade judged that force protection
at the camp was lacking. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On January 16 Somalia Unit staff met with Sheikh
Wade, a logistics planner at the UN Support Office for AMISOM
(UNSOA). Wade is a Senegalese military officer seconded to UNSOA.
Wade was just back from a day trip to Mogadishu for UNSOA, where he
also visited the Somali National Security Force soldiers based at
Jazeera Camp. (Note: The camp houses a large force of some 1,800
TFG troops, both newly recruited and recently returned from
training in Djibouti. The camp is located three kilometers south
of Mogadishu airport in an AMISOM-controlled area of Mogadishu.
AMISOM provides security, training, water and some food for the
Jazeera troops. The U.S. and TFG combined to pay these troops'
monthly stipends in December 2009, and may do so again in January
2010. End Note) Wade travels to Mogadishu frequently and has
observed the AMISOM and TFG troops based there.

3. (U) Wade said his impressions of the camp and the men and
few women based there were positive. Morale seemed to be high, he
said. Wade confirmed to us he saw close to 2,000 Somali troops at
the camp. He said almost all the troops were in camouflaged
uniforms, though some uniforms were mismatched and the troops'
footgear varied. All had AK-47 rifles. Wade said he encountered
several of the camp's Somali commanders, who struck him as mature
and competent. Wade told us his impression was that, with proper
support, training, and equipment, a force of this size would pose a
formidable challenge al-Shabaab in Mogadishu.

4. (SBU) Wade found the camp well organized and the troops
disciplined. Ugandan and Burundi trainers were also living in the
camp, he said, as were recently arrived Somali-speaking Kenyan
military interpreters. Wade said AMISOM Force Commander Major
General Nathan Mugisha told him the Jazeera troops were a lynchpin
in his larger strategy to support the TFG in Mogadishu and beyond.

5. (SBU) Wade said that the camp was well laid out, with
several rows of tents, and the Somalia flag flying in the middle of
a parade ground. Wade said, however, that the camp conditions were
otherwise poor. The tents were deteriorating. The camp had no
latrines or showers. Troops slept on mats on the ground in their
tents, he said. Wade arrived during mealtime, and said the troops
were receiving food, but of only the most basic quality. Drinking
water was being brought in regularly by truck. Security in the
camp was also basic. Wade said AMISOM troops scanned the few
civilian visitors he saw enter, and there was some perimeter
security, but Wade's impression was that the camp was vulnerable to
an attack by insurgents. (Note: TFG officials have told us the
soldiers are protected from ground and mortar attack in part by TFG
troops in the surrounding neighborhoods and a pro-TFG civilian
community near the camp. End Note.)

6. (SBU) Comment: Wade's description of the camp indicates
that there is some improvement in conditions for new TFG recruits
and trainees, and that the TFG is slowly getting better leveraging
AMISOM's presence and providing food and equipment for its army.
However it's still clear that much more needs to be done to improve
the government's ability and capacity to manage its armed forces.
End Comment.
RANNEBERGER

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