By Henry Mukasa
As Ugandans celebrated 50-years of independence, the UPDF troops deployed on a peace keeping mission in Somalia did not party as they were involved in a major offensive to secure the road to the strategic town of Baidoa.
After the capture of Wanla Weyne on Sunday, the UPDF drove Al shabaab extremists from Ballidoogle airfield which was a formerly an air force training wing. Ballidoogle is 104km from Mogadishu.
However, the soldiers serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) were not oblivious of the fete at home on Tuesday and the commander of the Ugandan contingent Brig. Micheal Ondoga delivered his golden jubilee message.
"We join our civil and military leadership together with all people back home on this anniversary celebration," Brig. Ondoga told his troops, according to a statement issued by the UPDF contingent spokesperson Capt. Henry Obbo.
Ondonga emphasized to his troops the need for every militant fighting the elected government of Somalia to know where Uganda has come from and programmes designed to thrust it into the future especially from 1986.
"Much has been realized and perhaps one of such achievement is the building of a strong, disciplined military that has grown from a small army to the current professional force capable of conducting both local and multinational missions," Ondoga stated.
He called on the soldiers to take pride in their country and to consider themselves privileged to belong to a nation with several natural resources. Ondoga added that despite all these assets, Uganda still has challenges because the colonial policies greatly undermined the determination of Ugandans to work for their destiny followed by the negative impact of the first 24 chaotic post-independence years.
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UPDF battles militants as Ugandans party