Press Statement: Commander of New Uganda Battle Group arrives in Somalia (20.04.2016)

AMISOM 32

Mogadishu, April 20, 2016 – The Commander of a new battle group from the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF), serving under the African Union in Somalia (AMISOM), has arrived in Mogadishu.

Col. Ronald Bigiriwa, the commander of battle group 18 jetted into Somalia yesterday afternoon with another batch of soldiers serving under him.

The new group is replacing battle group 15 based in Arbiska, which under the command of Col Silvio Aguma has completed its one year tour of duty. Col. Bigirwa was received by Lt. Col. Paul Muhanguzi, the Commanding Officer of 35 Battalion under battle group 15.

Addressing the soldiers moments after arrival, Col. Bigirwa called for discipline, alertness and dedication.

“My headquarters is going to be based in Arbiska and these troops are going to occupy the positions in the basecamp and outside Mogadishu town,” Col. Bigirwa said.

Speaking about his expectations, he expressed optimism that his team will deliver on the mission and play its part in bringing peace and stability in Somalia.

“It is just to continue with the mission of pan-Africanism. We are going to start where battle group 15 which is rotating out ended and we will continue with the task. We are ready for the challenges. These troops have trained enough and are ready,” Col. Bigirwa said.

In November last year, another Ugandan battle group rotated out and was replaced by battle group 17, commanded by Col. Bob Ogik.

Press Statement: New Battle Group of Uganda Soldiers arrive in Somalia to take part in Peacekeeping Mission in Somalia (08.11.2015)

ALJAZEERA Somali AMISOM

The first group of Ugandan soldiers expected to  replace their colleagues who have completed a year’s tour of duty at the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have arrived in Somalia.

The soldiers, resplendent in their new army uniforms, jetted into Mogadishu Airport at 8:45am today, on board a Boeing 737 and were received by the Acting Uganda Contingent Commander, Col. Silvio Aguma, who also doubles as the commander of battle group 15, based in Arbiska. The new group  is headed by Col. Bob Ogik.

Col. Aguma saluted the outgoing troops for a job well done and expressed optimism that the incoming group will also excel in their duties.

“They (outgoing soldiers) did a very commendable job. They were centered around Baraawe, that is where their area of operation was and the new battle group that is coming in, battle group 17, will exactly move to Baraawe and take over the responsibility of conducting security operations, maintaining and making sure that the main supply routes remain open,” said Col. Aguma.

The officer said it was very critical that the main supply routes remain open for both AMISOM personnel and people of Somalia to enable them continue with their day-to-day duties uninterrupted.

“I do hope that the incoming battle group 17, since they are still fresh from training, are going to perform even better than the battle group rotating out,” the Acting Uganda Contingent Commander said.

In an earlier briefing to the outgoing soldiers, moments before they boarded the same plane that brought in their counterparts from Entebbe, Uganda Col. Aguma urged caution and discipline.

“It was almost a year ago when you left Singo for this very important mission. You started with step one and you have covered a thousand kilometers and today you are marking the last step. When you reach back home please maintain the discipline that has seen all of you finish this mission successfully,” Col.  Aguma said, while issuing the outgoing soldiers certificates.

Moments later, the visibly ecstatic soldiers, some waving and others flashing the thumbs up sign, in a single file marched and boarded the plane ready for a two- hour journey back home to rejoin their families.

Every battle group taking part in the peacekeeping mission serves for one year and has to rotate out once the tour of duty ends. Uganda is one of the troop contributing countries (TCCs) to the mission which seeks to rout the militant group, Al-Shabaab, in a bid to pacify and stabilize the hitherto war-torn horn of Africa country.

Other troop contributing countries are Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Burundi, all reinforcing the Somali National Army (SNA) in offensives against the Al-Shabaab.

 

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