Au awards UPDF medals for Somalia job

The African Union (AU) has awarded service medals to Battle Group twenty-seven (BG XXVII) troops of the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF), in recognition of their contribution to execution of the AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia) mandate.

The troops of Battle Group XXVII have completed one year and five months in the Horn of Africa country.

The usually one-year tour of duty was extended by five more months, in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic that came along with international flight restrictions.

After take over from Battle Group XXIV in April 2019, the outgoing battle group had been conducting anti-insurgent operations against deadly Al-Shabaab fighters.

Mostly in the Lower Shabelle region that include areas of; Arbiska, Albao, Baledogle, Afgooye, Lantabur, Seaport, State house, Parliament, Basecamp and Aljazeera 1, 2 and 3.

According to AU officials this group will be replaced by Battle Group XXX (BG XXX), which will assume security responsibility of the same areas.

While presiding over at the scientific function held while observing covid-19 Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs), the AMISOM Deputy Force Commander in charge of Support and logistics Maj Gen George Owinow said that UPDF has been the cornerstone of AMISOM operation, having been the first Troop-contributing country in 2007.

Maj Gen Owinow has appreciated the payment of taxes by the citizens of Uganda, which cater for uniforms, salaries and equipment of the military.

“So, it means that every citizen of our troop contributing countries is contributing to the peace process in Somalia and it cannot be taken lightly,” He said.

Gen Owinow further commended the professionalism and focus which the UPDF has exhibited in the Somalia, while alluding to the joint effort made with the Somali National Army (SNA) and partners in liberating key towns from Al-Shabaab control.

“Col Kutesa and your team, as you go back home, be proud of the contribution that you have made, be proud of the achievements and also the losses because the achievements cannot be made without some losses,” he said

The medal awards and sendoff ceremony held at Sector One headquarter in Mogadishu.