The African Union Peace Keeping Mission in Somalia has hailed Ugandan troops for their distinguished service towards peace in the country.
The troops belonging to Battle Group No 21 were on Tuesday awarded medals and certificates in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.
The combatants who completed their tour of duty on Tuesday, after securing Mogadishu and neighbouring regions are bound to return home.
During their stay in Somalia, they participated in many operations, ranging from combat operations against the Al-Shabaab to securing the Main Supply Routes to allow easy access of vehicles carrying humanitarian relief aid.
Maj Gen Salvator Harushimana, the AMISOM Deputy Force Commander in charge of Support and Logistics, commended the troops for their sacrifice and reiterated the commitment of the African Union (AU) towards ensuring a stable Somalia.
“They [have] performed their duties with dedication and a high level of professionalism; they did not only represent Uganda well but also made the African continent proud,” Gen Harushimana said.
Uganda’s Deputy Ambassador to Somalia, Maj Gen Nathan Mugisha, who was the chief guest at the medal awards ceremony, called for more investment in social amenities which he said are critical for the population to supplement efforts by the military to stabilise the country.
Gen Mugisha also called for enhanced good governance, justice and rule of law as well as humanitarian support in liberated areas to enable a total return to normalcy.
“I would like to thank our friendly forces, with whom we have been fighting here trying to bring peace to Somalia but also the Somali National Army with whom we have really struggled, we encourage them to maintain the spirit,” Gen. Mugisha said.
The UPDF Contingent Commander in Somalia, Brig Paul Lokech, said that the outgoing troops were a dedicated force, committed to securing the Horn of Africa.
He thanked the force for withstanding pressure from the international media and sceptics.
“When we were coming here in 2007, we were told by the Western media that this mission would fail on arrival; but it is 10 years today and we are still moving forward, carrying the flag of the African mission, and carrying the flag of Uganda,” Brig Lokech said.
Brig. Lokech also paid tribute to fallen soldiers at the different combat points.
“To all our comrades who died in combat, they died for a purpose and we shall never, ever forget them,” he said.
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