Britain is intensifying its presence in Africa to contain insecurity, fight terrorism, and reduce illegal immigration, seeking to partner with the European Union in the security and humanitarian crises it faces, such as terrorism and illegal immigration, especially in regions where it has influence, such as Somalia.
Britain seeks to present itself as a major partner in the war on terrorism and combating piracy, in addition to providing military support and training to some African armies. It still maintains its British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) military base in Kenya and is seeking to obtain more bases, in addition to a limited military presence in Somalia and Djibouti, as well as its participation in United Nations peace missions in the countries of the continent.
Additional financing for Somalia
In September, Britain announced additional funding of £5 million to the trust fund for the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) to support security forces there.
This came in a meeting that took place between the National Security Advisor to Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and British Deputy National Security Advisor for International Affairs Sarah MacIntosh during her visit to Mogadishu last week.
The funding builds on the significant contributions made by the UK to date through the UNSOS Trust Fund, which is providing logistical support to the Somalia special security forces, which will include food, shelter and life-saving medical support.
The UK funding will provide ongoing support to operations against the terrorist group Al-Shabaab and will also help Somali security forces build their capacity as they assume greater responsibility for security.
For her part, MacIntosh said that security cooperation between Britain and Somalia contributes to achieving stability and security in Somalia and the Horn of Africa region as a whole, noting that the UK supports the efforts led by President Mohamud in the field of combating terrorism and restoring stability in the region.
In 2018, Britain announced its intention to use its center in Nanyuki to train Kenyan forces working within the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). In July 2018, it donated 47 heavy military vehicles worth £5.6 million to assist AMISOM in performing its tasks. It trained about 500 Somali soldiers in various fields such as medicine, intelligence, and maintenance of military equipment.
During her visit to Somalia in October 2018, British Secretary of State for African Affairs Harriett Baldwin confirmed the continued additional British support for AMISOM, warning of the consequences of the premature withdrawal of AMISOM forces from Somalia.
Baldwin visited the Horn of Africa, in what is considered the second visit by a high-ranking British official within one month after the visit of the former British prime minister, which suggests a growing trend within the corridors of decision-making in Britain currently towards a presence in Africa under the umbrella of fighting terrorist groups.