By Fred Kiva
MOGADISHU. Uganda was on Thursday commended for its efforts in stabilizing Somalia, as UPDF and Ugandans living in the war-torn country joined to celebrate the belated 56 Independence Anniversary.
The celebration attended by hundreds of Ugandans working in private sector and other organizations in Somalia, was held at the Ugandan Embassy in Somalia.
Officiating at the function, Uganda’s Deputy Ambassador to Somalia Maj. Gen Nathan Mugisha said despite the African Union Peacekeeping Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) being hard, tough and with limited resources at the beginning, it had done a tremendous job.
“AMISOM has done a good job, we have done it with a pan African spirit. No enemy is holding the ground despite our few numbers,” Gen Mugisha said.
He thanked President Yoweri Museveni for his vision and taking a bold decision to deploy the UPDF in Somalia while other countries were reluctant. Maj. Gen Mugisha noted that without President Museveni, the mission would not be there.
He thanked UPDF gallant Commanders and soldiers for their brevity and called upon all Ugandans in private sector and other areas to be good ambassadors for Uganda and portray a high level of discipline and respect their place of work.
Simon Mulongo, the Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) noted that with deployment in Somalia, Uganda has well demonstrated its ability and capacity to contribute to solutions for African problems. Mulongo added that Uganda’s deployment made a difference in Somalia, enabling the country to have a functioning government.
Brig Paul Lokech, the Uganda Contingent Commander was happy to note that the UPDF soldiers had survived for more than a decade now, on a mission many thought they would be killed on arrival.
Uganda’s AMISOM Deployment
Uganda was the first to deploy troops under AMISOM into Somalia in March 2007. The Ugandan contingent remains the largest in AMISOM with 6,223 troops based in Sector 1 which comprises of Banadir (Mogadishu), Middle and Lower Shabelle regions.
Other AMISOM troops contributing countries are Burundi, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti.