Somali National Republican Guard (Italian Empire)
|Somali National Republican Guard|
|Askarta Jamhuuriga Qaranka|
The M.V.S.N. emblem
|Active||1961 - present|
|Branch||National Republican Guard|
|Part of||National Royal Guard|
|Maj. Gen. Abdulkadir Sheikh Dini|
The Somali National Republican Guard (Somali: Askarta Jamhuuriga Qaranka, A.J.Q.) is the Somali branch of the G.N.R., tasked with safeguarding internal and external security of the Somali Autonomous Republic. Main challenges to the A.J.Q. include the al-Shabab insurgency, intra-clan feuds and the piracy in Indian Ocean. Within the units there is great cohesion and combativeness; discipline is very strict.
Historically, Somali society accords prestige to the warrior and rewards military prowess. Except for a man of religion (wadad; pl., wadaddo), and they are few in number, all Somali males are considered potential warriors. As a result, a culture of military readiness has flourished throughout a long history.
- 1 History
- 2 Organization
- 3 1st Brigade "Waran"
- 4 2nd Infantry Regiment "Libaax"
- 5 3rd Sea Corps "Duufaanka"
- 6 4th Infantry Regiment "Gaashaan"
- 7 Equipment
- 8 Uniform and insignia
- 9 See also
The Somali National Republican Guard is the second oldest East African G.N.R. branch, and the fourth Autonomous Republican Guard to be established in the Italian Empire. The modern-day A.J.Q. traces its orgins back to the Italian-led Royal Somali Colonial Troops. In 1946, the Royal Colonial Troops Corps (Regio Corpo Truppe Coloniali) was once again subdivided among former colonies. The direct origins descend from the Somali M.V.S.N.; before the establishment of the latter, its origins draw back to the volunteer corps of the Askaris, to Italian Colonial M.V.S.N. and to Army units. In 1961, immediately after the establishment of the Somali Gendarmerie, the Colonial M.V.S.N. in Somalia was merged with other P.N.F. Italian and local security services, and the Askarta Jamhuuriga Qaranka was created.
The new armed corps also relied upon some former Army Askaris units, merged in the A.J.Q. in 1962, as well as upon some Italian Army units. The first commander was General Mario Chiaramonti, a former Carabinieri senior officer, who held the command from 1961 until 1965, while the first Somali commander was Mohamed Siad Barre (Somali: Maxamed Siyaad Barre), who held the command from 1973 to 1977 and later became the first Somali Chief of Republic.
The 1993 Somali Crisis saw the Somali National Republican Guard involved in the repression of Mohamed Farrah Aidid's insurgency. While some units dispersed and some other defectet to Aidid, the bulk of the A.J.Q. remained loyal to Italy. Since late 2000s, the A.J.Q. has been heavily involved in the repression of Islamic insurgent groups affiliated to Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (Arabic: حركة الشباب المجاهدين; Ḥarakat ash-Shabāb al-Mujāhidīn, Somali: Xarakada Mujaahidiinta Alshabaab); this repression was conducted after the Fatwa declaration of the main Somali Imams and Mullahs against Al-Shabaab. Nowadays, Al-Shabaab are in a declining phase, and the A.J.Q. is becoming a specialized counter-insurgency force.
Nowadays, troops are almost exclusively of Somali ethnicity, while officers are drawn from Italian Somalis and Somalis; the current Commander is Major General Abdulkadir Sheikh Dini (Somali: Cabdulkaadir Sheekh Diini, Arabic:عبد القادر الشيخ ضئنئ), who took office in 2013, after the killing in a bomb attack of the previous Commander, Major General Said Dheere Mohamed (Somali: Saciid Dheere Maxamed, Arabic: سعيد محمد دهيري).
The Somali National Republican Guard is structured as a complex formation, centred on a complete Manoeuvre Brigade (which carries out the major combatant functions) and some other units and support corps: the 2nd Infantry Regiment deals with border and internal patrols, while the 3rd Sea Corps supports the Somali Gendarmerie and the Italian National Royal Navy in sea border surveillance. Units and formations are largely composed of officers from various Hawiye sub-clans, with some Marehan-Darod and minorities also present. As of 2015 the Somali National Republican Guard consists of:
- Somali National Republican Guard Command;
- Health Section;
- Training Command;
- Training Centre;
- Logistics Command;
- Military Fire Section;
- Health Service;
- Health Directorate;
- Unit Infirmaries;
- Administration Command;
- Administration Office;
- Central Depot;
- M.V.S.N. Military Court;
- 1st Brigade "Waran";
- 2nd Infantry Regiment "Libaax";
- 3rd Sea Corps "Duufaanka";
- 4th Infantry Regiment "Gaashaan".
1st Brigade "Waran"
The 1st Brigade "Waran" (Somali for "Spear") is a complete Manoeuvre Brigade tasked with carrying out the major combatant functions of the Somali National Republican Guard. The Brigade is the hearth of the A.J.Q. and is organized and trained with European standards. An unwritten rule states that the Brigade commander is among the favourite candidates for the appointment as Chief of Republic. The Brigade consists of:
- Brigade Command
- Brigade Command, Services and Support Battalion "Fashiistanimo"
- A.J.Q. Military Police Company;
- 1st Infantry Regiment "Geesinimada"
- Regiment Command Company (3 Platoons)
- Infantry Battalion (1 Command Company, 4 Infantry Comanies, 1 Mortar Company) "Geesi"
- Infantry Battalion (1 Command Company, 4 Infantry Comanies, 1 Mortar Company) "Dhaleecayn"
- Infantry Battalion (1 Command Company, 4 Infantry Comanies, 1 Mortar Company) "Nofna"
- Cavalry Squadrons Group (1 Command Squadron and 3 Operational Squadrons) "Hillaac"
- Tank Squadrons Group (1 Command Squadron and 3 Operational Squadrons) "Onkod"
- Field Artillery Group (1 Command Battery and 3 Operational Batteries) "Cadho"
- Engineers-Saboteurs Battalion "Qalcad "
- Signals Battalion "Dhiirranaan"
- Manoeuvre Regiment "Masruuf"
- Command Company
- Health Battalion
- Maintenance Battalion
- Supplies Battalion
- Demining Company
2nd Infantry Regiment "Libaax"
The 2nd Infantry Regiment "Libaax" (Somali for "Lions") is the line infantry component of the Somali G.N.R. The Regiment is tasked with the execution of long range patrol missions in external border areas; it therefore has a simpler organization than the main tactical complex of the A.J.Q., consisting of:
- Regiment Command Company
- 2 Infantry Battalions (Command Company, 4 Infantry Comanies, 1 Mortar Company each)
- Commandos Unit "Danab"
Commandos Unit "Danab"
The Commandos Unit "Danab" (Somali for "Lightning") is an elite unit of the A.J.Q. tasked with the fulfilment of delicate duties. In August 2011, the Ministry of Interior of the Somali Social Republic announced the creation of a new Commando unit. Consisting of projected 550 infantrymen (Command Platoon and 2 Companies) the unit was initially mandated with protecting relief shipments and distribution centres in areas infested by the Al-Shabaab. In February 2014, the Somali Autonomous Government concluded a six-month training course for the first Commandos unit, the "Danab" ("Lightning") Company. The unit is modelled after the Italian Bersaglieri, being capable of special and advanced patrols. Training had been jointly carried out by the National Republican Army and the Italian National Republican Guard, especially by the Forza-D experts. The training of the first platoon had begun in January 2013, and included 50 soldiers. The special training is geared toward both urban and rural environments, and is aimed at preparing the soldiers for guerilla warfare and all other types of modern military operations.
3rd Sea Corps "Duufaanka"
The 3rd Sea Corps "Duufaanka" (Somali for "Hurricane") is the former Somalian Coast Guard. Since the emergence of the al-Shabab crisis and of widespread piracy in Indian Ocean, the corps was merged with the Somali National Republican Guard. The Corps is considered being a brigade-level command and has some naval capabilities.
The 3rd Sea Corps maintains bases at Berbera, Mogadiscio, and Chismaio, and a radar site at Merca.
4th Infantry Regiment "Gaashaan"
The 4th Infantry Regiment "Gaashaan" (Somali for "Shield") is the security, protective and military police unit of the Somali National Republican Guard. It is tasked with carrying out protection activities for both State and military leaders of Somalia, keeping surveillance on members of the Somali National Republican Guard, as well as protecting military establishments and facilities. It closely cooperates with the Somali Gendarmerie. As of 2015 it consists of:
- Regimental Command;
- Command and Support Company;
- Military police Battalion;
- Protective Security Detachments Battalion "Duub Cas";
- Military Intelligence Battalion.
The "Gaashaan" Regiment is in charge for supporting the Victory Pioneers (Somali: Guulwadayaal), a neighborhood-level internal security unit.
Protective Security Detachments Battalion "Duub Cas"
The Protective Security Detachments Battalion "Duub Cas" (Somali for Red Berets) is a feared elite unit recruited from among Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed's clansmen.
The "Duub Cas" Battalion is a heavily-armed special force that acts as Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed's bodyguards: members of the Red Berets are recruited among the 4th Infantry Regiment "Gaashaan" and are stationed at the Mogadiscio army headquarters.
The Somali National Republican Guard has dedicated equipment, including heavy combat/fighting equipment.
Boats and ships
As of 2015, the 3rd Sea Corps "Duufaanka" consists of:
- 4 x Nibbio-class missile boats;
- 7 x Patrol torpedo boat;
- 6 x Inshore Patrol boat.
The Somali National Republican Guard uses several types of ground vehicles. All of them are Italian, both imported from Italy and built in Somalia itself:
- 60 x OF-40 main battle tank;
- 20 x FIAT 3R2 self-propelled 122mm-howitzers;
- 50 x VIC Freccia infantry fighting vehicle;
- VCC Puma armoured fighting vehicle;
- VIC Dardo infantry fighting vehicle;
- VTLM Lince multirole light vehicle;
- VRT Ombra reconnaissance vehicle;
- ACTL Iveco SM44 Heavy Truck 8x8;
- ACTL Iveco SM44 Heavy Truck 6x6;
- Iveco VM 90P multirole light vehicle (General use);
- TT-12 armoured personnel carrier (General use).
The Somali National Republican Guard makes use of heavy weapons:
- 120mm Mortar;
- 60mm Mortar;
- Oto Melara Aspide anti-tank system;
- 5 x Oto Melara SLRM multiple launch rocket system;
- 10 x 155 mm self-propelled armoured howitzer;
- 105/14 howitzer;
- Aspide air defence system.
Personal and unit light/medium weapons
- Beretta AR70/90 assault rifle;
- MG 42/59 medium machine gun;
- Breda MIT11 light machine gun;
- M2 Browning machine gun;
- Beretta FN Minimi machine gun;
- Benelli M3 combat shotgun;
- Benelli M4 shotgun;
- Ultor sniper rifle
- Beretta 92 semiautomatic pistol.
Uniform and insignia
Somali G.N.R. Legionnaires wear their own uniform: light cream jacket and trousers and dark gray cap. The blackshirt and the Fascist Eagle are common among all M.V.S.N. branches. Aside of uniform colours, both the cloths' cuts and rank insignia are the same across the Italian Empire.