U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Lapthe C. Flora, commanding general, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), recently returned from a two-day trip to attend a change of command ceremony for European Union Training Mission-Somalia (EUTM-S) and to conduct a series of key leader engagements in Mogadishu, Somalia.
As EUTM-S service personnel stood in a sunny courtyard outside the Italian Embassy to Somalia, Italian Army Brigadier General Antonello De Sio, outgoing EUTM-S mission force commander, relinquished command to Brigadier General Fabiano Zinzone. Presiding over the ceremony was European Union Acting Head of Delegation, Nicole Miller. Also in attendance were U.S., European Union and African Union Mission to Somalia dignitaries, as well as Somali government and military officials.
During his farewell remarks, Brigadier General De Sio praised the EUTM-S personnel and international partners for their efforts in supporting the Somali National Armed Forces and for their contribution in building Somali security capacity. De Sio also highlighted the need to continue endeavors by EUTM-S and partner forces to support Somali institutions in their constant process of rebuilding; to guarantee the security conditions that the Somali population deserves; and to restore Somalia as “the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.”
Flora underscored the critical importance of working with partner nations, coalition partners and Host Nation military and civilian leadership while bringing a whole-of-government approach to U.S. efforts in Somalia. He noted that most efforts on the continent were African-led, internationally-assisted and U.S.-supported.
During his visit, Flora also met key partners in the region, including Ambassador Donald Y. Yamamoto, chief of mission, U.S. Embassy in Somalia; Mahdi Mohamed Guled, acting Prime Minister of Somalia; Brigadier General Odowaa Yusuf Rageh, Somali Army chief of defence forces; and others to discuss areas of common interest.
EUTM-Somalia’s mission is to strengthen “the Somali federal government’s defence security institutions following a three-pillar approach: Advising, Training and Mentoring. Furthermore the EU, along with Somali Authorities and international key partners, supports Somalia’s efforts in improving security, development, diplomacy and essential services to the Somali people.”