Threats of improvised explosive devices usage by terrorists and inadequate defense stores to fortify the defensive positions of troops
Brig. Kayanja Muhanga said Somalia still has a lot of problems that need to be addressed. AMISOM Photo
The commander of Uganda’s contingent deployed under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Brig. Kayanja Muhanga, has said Somalia remains a volatile state with a number of challenges for citizens and the peacekeepers.
In a brief to Simon Mulongo, the newly appointed deputy special representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, Muhanga also said lack of air capacity by AMISOM troops, expanded area of operation, poor conditions of infantry fighting vehicle and the poor road network are some of the major challenges that have complicated peacekeeping in Somalia.
A statement issued by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) notes that Muhanga said: “Somalia still has a lot of problems that need to be addressed. Among the outstanding problems he highlighted the persistent Clan rivalries in the sector, land ownership for agriculture and economic rivalries especially in Marka port”.
“These conflicts have made the situation more volatile as Al-Shabaab has for many times used them to launch attacks on own forces,” he added.
Muhanga was addressing Mulongo at the headquarters of the Uganda contingent in Somalia.
Threats of improvised explosive devices usage by terrorists and inadequate defense stores to fortify the defensive positions of troops, Muhanga said, are the other challenges that the troops must be supported to overcome.
Helping the leadership in Somalia to conduct peaceful elections, the capture of Mogadishu city and other towns such as Marka, Afogoye and Barawe and the re-allocation of all partners, including United Nations agencies from Nairobi to Mogadishu, are some of the achievements that Muhanga singled out.
According to Mulongo, the presence of Ugandan troops in Somalia is a sign of the Pan-Africanism spirit shaped by the need to stabilise and restore peace to the conflict-torn country.
He has also urged the Ugandan troops to always stay focused on the mission and the strategic objective of their deployment so that they can ably implement their mandate.
Mulongo has also called for troop contributing countries to draw an exit strategy.
“Troop Contributing Countries and partners must sit and review the exit plan very well so that we don’t see another Somalia failed State only two days after our exit,” he said.
Mulongo , a former MP replaced Lydia Wanyoto, the current National Resistance Movement (NRM) chairperson of the women league, after her contract expired in March.
In August 12 UPDF soldiers under AMISOM were killed in a brutal ambush by Al-Shabaab militants, as they were patrolling Goryowein in the lower Shabelle region.
A probe into the circumstances that led to the death of Ugandan troops was constituted to investigate the circumstances that led to the death of Ugandan troops. UPDF is yet to release the report.