AMISOM troops from Uganda Army’s Battle Group 19 departed Somalia Friday after a year’s tour of duty. The troops which were given a sendoff at a ceremony officiated by Brigadier Kayanja Muhanga, the Commander of the Uganda Contingent had served the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in Marka, Lower Shabelle region.
Brigadier Muhanga decorated the first batch of departing troops with medals and also presented them with certificates of recognition. “Battle Group XIX has been operating in a very difficult area; that is in Marka district in Lower Shabelle region but have done a good job,” Brig. Muhanga said.
“They have been protecting the civilians. You know we have Internally Displaced People’s (IDP) camps. They have offered security to the populations in different areas in different IDP camps and in centre,” he added.
Lower Shabelle region is one of the regions in Somalia severely affected by the drought that saw thousands of families flee their homes to live in settlements for internally displaced persons. Most of these camps are protected by the Somali security forces jointly with AMISOM troops.
Brig. Muhanga said the troops had also succeeded in opening and securing Main Supply Routes (MSR), to allow delivery of humanitarian supplies and free movement of people.
A new Battle Group (Battle Group 22), which replaces Battle Group 19, arrived in Somalia this morning, where they were received by Brigadier Muhanga. “We expect them to achieve much more than even Battle Group 19. Of course (ensuring) security along the Main Supply Routes (MSR) is paramount and the security of the population is very important and also fighting to degrade the Al-Shabaab. That’s why we are here to support the Government in its functions,” Brig. Muhanga noted.
Uganda is one of the Troop Contributing Countries to AMISOM. Other countries include Burundi, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya.