By Charles Birungi
The Senior Presidential Advisor for Special Operations, Major General Muhoozi Kainerugaba last evening in Kampala held bilateral military discussions with the Djiboutian government delegation that was in the country to attend the summit of the troop contributing countries (TCCs) to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
The delegation, led by Djibouti Defense Minister Hon Ali Hassan Bahdon included the Deputy Chief of Staff of the country’s armed forces, Brigadier General Taher Ali Mohamed and other officials. The meeting was conducted on the side lines of the summit of TCCs at Speke Resort Munyonyo that also included representatives from Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and hosts Uganda.
The summit was convened in the wake of challenges AMISOM faces largely characterized by a mismatch between the mission goals and resources available. It also followed the adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 2372 (2017), whose main thrust was the phased reduction and draw-down of AMISOM troops; and the gradual handover of security responsibilities to the Somali security forces.
The summit, convened and chaired by President Yoweri Museveni, was attended by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Mr Gaston Sindimwo, the First Vice President of Burundi, Ambassador Raychelle Omamo, Cabinet Secretary of Defense of the Republic of Kenya, Hon Ali Hassan Bahdon, Minister of National Defence of Djibouti and Mr. Tolesa Shagi Moti, Ambassador of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to Uganda.
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat and the Executive Secretary of IGAD, Mahboub Maalim also attended the one day event.
The meeting between General Kainerugaba and Hon Bahdon is a follow up of the discussions the two leaders had in Djibouti in June 2017 when the latter visited the Horn of Africa country to mark the country’s 40th independence celebrations.
Uganda, the first country to deploy to Somalia under AMISOM in March 2007, also boasts the largest contingent at over 6000 troops strong, concentrated in the capital Mogadishu and other key urban areas formally Al-Shabaab strongholds. Last month in February, Ugandan Lieutenant General Jim Owoyesigire assumed command of AMISOM, taking over from his Djiboutian counterpart, Lieutenant General Osman Noor Soubagleh who had been in office since early 2016.