Mogadishu, Somalia –
Navy judge advocate Lt. Josh Root from the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (DIILS) recently completed a training mission to Mogadishu, Somalia in support of counter terrorism operations against the Al Shabaab militant group.
Accompanied by his fellow Navy judge advocate Lt. Cmdr. Colin Hood, as well as Capt. Sean O’Dowd, Root travelled to Mogadishu to provide legal training to the Somali National Army’s special forces “lightning brigade,” the Danab. They provided instruction on the law of armed conflict; human rights and fundamental freedoms; gender violence and human trafficking; the right against torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; rules of engagement; the law of targeting; and other topics.
This training satisfies a Congressional requirement for recipients of U.S. security assistance. Over the course of five days, the DIILS training team was impressed by the Danab’s professionalism and dedication to establishing peace and security for their country.
Mogadishu has recently survived several major terrorist attacks, including an armed siege of a popular hotel on Aug. 16, 2022, which resulted in the death of 20 people. Despite this violence and sporadic attacks against their compounds and allied forces, the Danab officers invested time in this training to increase their readiness and to enhance their cooperation with partner forces.
DIILS is the lead U.S. defense security cooperation resource for professional legal education, training and engagement with international defense sector personnel. DIILS personnel regularly travel the world to provide this and similar types of training and education, and engage with partner nations to develop and implement security cooperation programs designed to build legal capacity.
Often, these legal training engagements take place in austere environments and require flexibility, diplomacy, and an ability to improvise on the ground in response to the unique circumstances that international travel and engagement routinely present.