The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission (SRCC) and Head of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Ambassador Francisco Madeira, has commended Uganda for its continuous contribution in efforts by the African Union to secure and stabilise Somalia.
The SRCC was speaking on Sunday at a dinner hosted by the Ugandan Police component of AMISOM, to celebrate Uganda’s 59th Independence Anniversary.
In his speech, Ambassador Madeira said the troops from Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) paved the way for AMISOM to take shape, and they continue to be a formidable force in stabilising Somalia.
“Uganda was the first Troop Contributing Country to send soldiers to AMISOM in 2007 and that opened up space for others to follow, and since then they have made significant contributions to peace enforcement and peace-building especially in Mogadishu, Middle Shabelle, and generally Somalia as a whole,” said Ambassador Madeira.
He said the UPDF, and subsequently the Uganda Police Force which deployed officers under the Police component, have demonstrated a high degree of professionalism, courage and resolve in the fight against extremist group, Al-Shabaab, thereby enhancing relative stability in the country.
“The situation in and around Mogadishu is very different from what it was 15 years ago when the Mission first came in. There is visible progress and development that has seen the return of Somalis in the Diaspora, international missions and agencies, and evidently the airport is one of the busiest in Eastern Africa. Whereas these attainments are a collective effort of several players, it should be pointed out that it is also because of the sacrifices by the UPDF,” Madeira said.
The AMISOM Police Commissioner, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) Augustine Magnus Kailie, paid glowing tribute to all military and police officers who lost their lives in the pursuit of peace and stability in Somalia.
The Contingent Commander of Individual Police Officers from Uganda, Assistant Commissioner of Police Agapitus Ecotu, thanked all Ugandan men and women in uniform for ensuring peace and stability back home in Uganda, and elsewhere around the world on Peace missions.
“As one of the troop and police contributing countries, Uganda, is happy to contribute to the implementation of the AMISOM mandate. I want to salute all the men and women of the UPDF who continue to work tirelessly to ensure peace and stability back home in Uganda and on the continent, including Somalia. Some have paid the ultimate price,” said ACP Ecotu.
The Independence Anniversary dinner, held at the AMISOM Recreation Centre in Mogadishu, was attended by the African Union Director of Conflict Management at the Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department, Fiona Lortan; the Head of Peace Support Operations Division, Sivuyile Bam; and the Chief of Operations and Planning, Brigadier General Michael Kabango. The team from the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa is in Mogadishu on a working visit.
Others included AMISOM Deputy Force Commander in-charge of Supplies and Logistics, Major General Kebede Gerbi Regassa; the Defence Advisor at Uganda’s Embassy in Somalia, Maj. Gen. Dr. Lucky Joseph Kidega; AMISOM Military Chief-of-Staff, Colonel Abdourahman Aden Cher among
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