The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Tuesday handed back to the Federal Government, a university which it used as a military base over the last decade.
Troops occupied the Somali National University in 2007, initially as an Operating Base before later taking it over as a Battalion Headquarters in its fight against insurgent group, Al Shabaab.
The Somali government representative at the event which took place in the capital, Mogadishu,
was the Minister of Education, Abdirahman Dahir Osman. He described the institution as a symbol of the rebirth of Somalia.
“As a Government, we prioritize security, economic development and most importantly education because we believe that education is the anchor for sustainable development,” he said.
The Head of AMISOM, Ambassador Francisco Caetano Madeira, confirmed that the facility will begin admitting students after the government gives the green light.
The ravaged premises has undergone extensive reconstruction, logistical and engineering works, spearheaded by the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS).
“We are happy that today, this institution is ready and will start admitting students once the government gives the green light,” Amb. Madeira remarked.
AMISOM’s Burundi contingent who previously occupied the once ravaged campus have been relocated to the a new facility – an operation that started in April this year.
The university was built in 1954 but was badly hit in the wake of the 1991 civil war leading to the suspension of classes and closure. However, in August 2014, the university reopened its constituent colleges to offer specialized training.