Africa-Press – Kenya. For many years, the Al Shabaab militia group has wrecked havoc in Somalia, necessitating the formation of the African Mission for Somalia (AMISOM) aimed at restoring peace and order in the Horn of Africa country.
Although Kenya entered Somalia in October 2011, it was formally integrated into AMISOM on February 22, 2012, after the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 2036. This would see the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) troops dispatched to the world’s sixth most dangerous country to live in according to the 2021 Global Peace Index.
KDF would now take charge of Sector 2, in Southern Somalia. Among the tenth KDF contingent under AMISOM is an all-women team of elite soldiers.
Highly trained, the Female Engagement Team (FET) operate at the war front line under the guidance of Captain Gertrude Abiyo. FET is based in Goble, Somalia, the headquarters of Sector 2.
The team is adept at handling both combat as well as soft power diplomacy.
Their deployment is in compliance with the United Nations (UN) Resolution 1325 that stresses the importance of women in the prevention and resolution of conflict and peace building.
In addition, it ensures that female soldiers are granted an equal opportunity at the war frontline as their male counterparts.
In this regard, the all women team carries out patrols in the war stricken country. Armed with both skills and ammunition, they have the ability to neutralise the enemy.
However, when they are not on the battlefield, the FET is committed to win the hearts of the people they protect; the women of Somalia. Just like the soldiers, they fight their own battles of social injustices. However, with the help of FET, they do not fight this battle alone.
Having identified their needs, challenges they face as well as societal gaps, the female soldiers chip in by providing them with training that will benefit them both socially and economically.
They have trained a number of women in midwifery in a bid to reduce the infant mortality rate in the region. In addition, they also offer free medical services to women and their children.
Through the help of Somali-speaking soldiers, they have been able to address issues of social injustices such as abuse by providing the women with a platform which they can report, address and get help whenever they go through any form of abuse.