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Wednesday,November 25,2020 20:09 PM

AU awards medals to UPDF soldiers

By David Lumu

Added 8th September 2020 08:34 PM

AU officials said UPDF soldiers from Battle Group XXVII were on Sunday awarded medals in recognition of their role in furthering the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

AU awards medals to UPDF soldiers

Maj. Gen. Owinow addressing the awardees

AU officials said UPDF soldiers from Battle Group XXVII were on Sunday awarded medals in recognition of their role in furthering the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

"Given the efforts that I have put in, to achieve this medal, it is evident that I have really contributed to the peace process, stability and economic development within Somalia," Lt. Col. Fred Kakaire, one of the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) officers recognised by the African Union (AU) for their contribution towards the peace process in Somalia, said.

AU officials said UPDF soldiers from Battle Group XXVII were on Sunday awarded medals in recognition of their role in furthering the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Maj. Gen. George Owinow addressing Ugandan soldiers serving under AMISOM during a medal parade in Mogadishu, Somalia on Monday

 "We are proud to honour our heroes, brothers and sisters of the UPDF contingent of Battle Group 27 who have completed their tour of duty and, therefore, are being decorated today with the AU peace medal for the exemplary work that they have done," Maj. Gen. George Owinow, the AMISOM deputy force commander in charge of logistics and support, said.

Owinow said the Battle Group 27 UPDF officers were instrumental in the capture from the al-Shabaab, the four bridge towns of Sabiid-Anole, Bariire, Awdheegle and Ceel Salini, as well as making a "solid contribution" not only to peace in Somalia, but the entire region.

Maj. Gen. George Owinow and other senior offi cers saluting during the medal parade

"The journey that we started, to secure Somalia, will go on, until it is secured. If Somalia is not stable and secure, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and the region is not stable," he said.

On Monday (September 7), the UPDF deputy spokesperson, Lt. Col. Deo Akiiki, said the recognition of UPDF officers was a "vote of confidence" in Uganda.

Maj. Gen. Owinow pins a medal on a Ugandan military officer
Maj. Gen. Owinow pins a medal on a Ugandan military officer

 "It is an honour to our gallant men and women in uniform. Such a recognition for a Pan-Africanist cause is humbling, but also gives our troops the morale to soldier on, to liberate the Somali people from the grips of terrorism," he said.
"They will come back home as heroes and we applaud them for making their country proud.

This is the second award in just days after the United Nations (UN) secretary general also awarded our soldiers serving under UN," he added.

Deployed in April last year, the Battle Group 27 is expected to return this week, after serving one year in Somalia. "You have not left Somalia the same, your contribution to the peace process in this country has not only made a positive mark in the hearts and minds of the Somali people, but also impacted positively on regional peace and security," Col. John Winston Mugarura, the deputy commander of the Ugandan troops in Somalia, said.

Maj. Gen. Owinow inspecting a parade mounted by Ugandan soldiers serving under AMISOM during the medal parade
Maj. Gen. Owinow inspecting a parade mounted by Ugandan soldiers serving under AMISOM during the medal parade

Capt. Selina Awino, a medal recipient, said: "Awarding me a medal at the end of the mission makes me feel recognised and appreciated."

The commander of the Battle Group, Col. Sam Kosiya Kutesa, said the troops had shown a deep sense of commitment and sacrifice during their tour of duty and operations in tough conditions on the frontline.
 In 2017, Uganda was the first country to deploy troops in Somalia.

A Battle Group 27 officer receiving a medal
A Battle Group 27 officer receiving a medal

AMISOM officials say the pacification of Somalia has now set the pace for the national army of the country to take charge of the affairs of Somalia. Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and Burundi also contribute troops to AMISOM.

A senior military officer pinning a medal on a Battle Group 27 officer
A senior military officer pinning a medal on a Battle Group 27 officer

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