Ugandan troops serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Saturday celebrated the country’s 59th Independence Anniversary.
Uganda contributes both Police and Military personnel to AMISOM.
In attendance at the celebrations in Mogadishu, Somalia, were officials from both the Federal Government of Somalia and senior leaders from AMISOM.
The Deputy Head of AMISOM, Simon Mulongo, underscored the great relations between Uganda and Somalia.
He said in the days of its full glory, Somalia supported many African countries, including Uganda, which is now home to a big population of Somalis.
“When Uganda had instability among her own people, those who were fighting from Tanzania against the Idi Amin era in the early and mid-seventies, it was Somalia that became a major arbiter and cooled off the war between the governments of Ugandans and Tanzania, said Mulongo.
The Force Commander for AMISOM, Lt. Gen. Diomede Ndegeya, noted that Uganda has made bold strides in terms of progress, creating stability.
He commended the decision by President Yoweri Museveni to deploy Ugandan troops to Somalia, noting that Uganda was the first country to deploy troops to the Mission, encouraging others to join and support “the noble cause of restoring security and stability to Somalia.”
“As Mission we salute and celebrate the contributions of Uganda to stabilizing Somalia and thank the people and Government of Uganda for their exemplary role in contributing to security and stability in Africa,” said Lt. Gen. Ndegeya.
The Governor for the Lower Shabelle region, Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur Siidi, speaking on behalf of the Government of Somalia and South West State thanked Uganda for its Pan-Africanism by deploying soldiers to Somalia.
“You have made great contributions and sacrifices to Somalia and for that we will never forget,” he said.
The Police Commissioner for AMISOM, AIGP Augustine Kailie, noted that though Uganda had gone through turbulent times since its independence, it has remained united and urged the peacekeepers to remain steadfast.
The Uganda Contingent Commander in AMISOM, Brig. Gen. Nabasa, noted that Uganda has a lot in common with many African countries, including Somalia, whose history has been characterized by civil war emphasizing that what unites all is the Pan-African spirit.
“As the Uganda contingent in Somalia, we would also like to thank our Somali brothers and sisters for their cooperation in the process of peacebuilding as mandated by the African Union,” he added.
Also present at the event was the Head of Plans and Operations at the AU Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD), Brig. Gen. Michael Kabango; Uganda’s Defence Advisor in Somalia, Maj. Gen. Lucky Kidega; and the Somalia Police Commissioner, Maj. Gen. Abdi Hassan Mohamed.