Britain will play a key part in building up the armed forces of Somalia and help combat human rights abuses which have accompanied the conflict in the country, the Government has announced.
A military team will be sent to the region to train Somali troops and the UK will contribute to a £50 million international fund for the state in the Horn of Africa. Ten million pounds would be allocated to help it operate beyond the capital, Mogadishu. Another one and half million pounds has been committed to building up an anti-piracy naval force.
Another £14.5 millionwill be spent on addressing the issue of abuse, including sexual violence, and counter-terrorism. Some of the money will be spent refurbishing and expanding Mogadishu's central prison.
Speaking at the end of an international conference on Somalia David Cameron insisted that there was no realistic alternative to getting involved in the affairs of a failed state which had become a byword for instability and violence.
“To anyone who says this isn't a priority or we can't afford to deal with it, I would say that is what we've said in the past and look where it has got us — terrorism and mass migration,” Cameron said.
“These challenges matter to Britain - and to the whole international community. Why? Because when young minds are poisoned by radicalism and they go on to export terrorism and extremism, the security of the whole world is at stake.”
However, the Somali security forces will have to be molded together from disparate clan militias which have switched loyalties in the past and have been accused of abuses including rape.
The UK is also working with international partners with questionable reputations in Somalia. Uhuru Kenyatta, the newly elected president of Kenya, a key ally, is indicted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC), was present at the conference at the invitation of Mr Cameron's government.
Downing Street stressed that Kenya played a “vital” role in Somalia with nearly 5,000 troops stationed there and it hosts more Somali refugees than any other nation.