• Fri Dec 11 2020
  • UPDF sends more peacekeepers to Somalia

Maj. Gen Kyanda called on the troops to build on the discipline and successes of the predecessor battle groups that have been instrumental in the pacifying of Somalia.
Charles Etukuri
Journalist @ New vision
Maj. Gen Kyanda called on the troops to build on the discipline and successes of the predecessor battle groups that have been instrumental in the pacifying of Somalia.

UPDF|AMISOM|AFRICAN UNION 

KAMPALA - The Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) Chief of Staff, Land Forces, Major General Leopold Kyanda, on Wednesday (December 9, 2020) flagged off Battle Group 31 comprising of 1,714 troops heading to Somalia to serve under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). 

The flag off was attended by senior UPDF officers and partners.

Addressing the troops and officers at the flag off, Maj. Gen Kyanda called on the troops to build on the discipline and successes of the predecessor battle groups that have been instrumental in the pacifying of Somalia. 

He noted that the pacification of Somalia is crucial in the stability and development of not only Uganda but other African States. 

While giving the troops and guests a general overview of the situation in the country, Maj. Gen. Kyanda said that it is the Constitutional obligation of the UPDF to preserve and defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Uganda and to also foster harmony and understanding between the Defence Forces and Civilians.

Maj. Gen. Kyanda thanked the government of Somalia and the African Union for agreeing to stabilise Somalia where Al-Shabaab terrorists had created insecurity that led to disunity amongst the Somalis and destabilisation of Somalia. 

He underscored the importance and need of the troops to be disciplined, patriotic in carrying high the flag of Uganda. 

Kyanda reminded them that the participation of the UPDF in AMISOM is in line with the principle of Pan-Africanism. 

"Your positive contribution will lead to the realisation of Uganda's vision of Pan-Africanism, social and economic transformation," Said Maj Gen Kyanda.

He cautioned the soldiers against living lives of promiscuity, drunkenness, corruption while reminding them that both COVID-19 and AIDS are real and it is their duty to stay healthy.

Kyanda thanked Commandant Brig Gen Bonny Wolimbwa and his team for successfully completing the pre-training mission that was conducted mainly by Ugandan instructors.

In his remarks, the Commandant of the Peace, Support Operations and Training Centre, Wolimbwa commanded the group for their cooperation and having endured the training especially towards following the Standard Operating Procedures to guard against COVID-19. 

He noted that while they were supposed to be deployed in August, circumstances couldn't allow them to be deployed then.

He further said that the Training Centre has now developed capacity to train and deploy to mission areas with limited support from partners.

He stressed the need for the troops to be good ambassadors of the country and ensure the success of the mission. 

Brig Gen. Wolimbwa also reminded the troops that they need to endure because COVID-19 is real and kills and thus they need to keep themselves safe while protecting others.

Uganda was the first country to deploy troops under AMISOM into Somalia in March 2007.

As per the UN Security Council Resolution 2372 (2017), AMISOM is mandated to among others, enable the gradual handing over of security responsibilities from AMISOM to the Somali security forces contingent on abilities of the Somali security forces and political and security progress in Somalia; Reduce the threat posed by Al-Shabaab and other armed opposition groups.

Assist the Somali security forces to provide security for the political process at all levels as well as stabilisation, reconciliation and peacebuilding in Somalia.

Under the same UN Security Council Resolution 2372 (2017), AMISOM is also authorised to carry out the following priority tasks to achieve these objectives:

Maintain a presence in the sectors set out in the AMISOM Concept of Operations, prioritizing the main population centres;

To assist, as appropriate, the Somali security forces to protect the Somali authorities to help them carry out their functions of government, their efforts towards reconciliation and peacebuilding, and security for key infrastructure;

To protect, as appropriate, its personnel, facilities, installations, equipment and mission, and to ensure the security and freedom of movement of its personnel, as well as of United Nations personnel carrying out functions mandated by the Security Council;

To secure key supply routes including to areas recovered from Al-Shabaab, in particular those essential to improving the humanitarian situation, and those critical for logistical support to AMISOM, underscoring that the delivery of logistics remains a joint responsibility between the United Nations and AU;

To conduct targeted offensive operations against Al-Shabaab and other armed opposition groups, including jointly with the Somali Security Forces;

To mentor and assist Somali security forces, both military and police, in close collaboration with UNSOM and in line with the National Security Architecture;

To reconfigure AMISOM, as security conditions allow, in favor of police personnel within the authorised AMISOM personnel ceiling, and provide updates on the reconfiguration through the Secretary-General;

To receive on a transitory basis, defectors, as appropriate, and in coordination with the United Nations and the Federal Government of Somalia.

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