The Somali government has received a shipment of Bell 412 helicopters, and some other weapons to boost its counter-insurgency fight against the Al-Shabaab terrorist group.
Two Bell 412 helicopters arrived in Mogadishu in July, while a further three would soon be delivered.
The Bell 412 is a twin-engine helicopter that is used for a variety of purposes, including troop transport, medical evacuation, and search and rescue. It is considered to be a versatile and reliable aircraft that is well-suited for operations in Somalia’s harsh environment.
The arrival of the Bell 412 helicopters is a significant boost for the Somali government’s counter-insurgency efforts. The helicopters will allow the government to quickly deploy troops and supplies to remote areas, and they will also be able to provide medical evacuation for wounded soldiers.
For now it is not clear if Somalia paid for the helicopters directly, or they were gifted to them. The number of helicopters quoted by military sources indicates that they number about five in total.
“Although the helicopters are currently utilized for casualty evacuation, they can also play an active role in combat operations,” he added.
According to Somali news channels, the military’s pilots, technicians and Special Forces have completed training in Turkey on the Bell 412s.
Turkey had earlier donated twelve Turkish-made Kirpi armored vehicle and another twelve utility trucks to Somalia in 2020 as part of bilateral military and financial cooperation agreements.
The arrival of the Bell 412 helicopters is a welcome development for Somalia. The helicopters will help the government to better protect its citizens from Al-Shabaab.
In addition to the Bell 412 helicopters, the Somali government has also received a significant arsenal of new weapons in recent months. This includes 120mm mortars, Zu-23 anti-aircraft guns, and other heavy weaponry. These were donated by allied nations.
The government has also been working to train its troops and improve its intelligence capabilities. These efforts are paying off, and the Somali military has been able to make significant gains against Al-Shabaab in recent months.
The Somali government is still facing a number of challenges, but it is making progress in its fight against Al-Shabaab. The arrival of the Bell 412 helicopters is a major boost for the government’s efforts, and it is a sign that the international community is committed to helping Somalia achieve peace.
The African Union Transitional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) has withdrawn about 2,000 troops in June 30, and another 3,000 is expected to be withdrawn in September in compliance with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2628 and 2670, which mandates ATMIS to also hand over security responsibilities in agreed areas to Somali security forces.
This January, the U.S. pledged about $9 million in new military aid to help Somalia’s ongoing campaign against al-Shabab militants.
It’s the first such direct military support since U.S. forces returned to Somalia and President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud announced an “all-out war” against the militants.
In July 2021, United States African Command (AFRICOM) delivered six Puma M36 Mk 6 armoured vehicles to complement Somali security forces in the fight against al-Shabaab.
The U.S. also planned to deliver at least 100 light combat vehicles to Somalia in order to support it’s war against Al-Shabaab and counter Turkish growing influence in the country.
Meanwhile, in May last year, United States President Joe Biden authorized the deployment of hundreds of Special Operations forces inside Somalia.