Press Statement: Uganda Contigent Commander Brigadier General Sam Kavuma concludes a one year tour duty in Somalia (30.11.0215)

AMISOM 32

A colorful send off for the outgoing Contingent Commander of the Uganda Peoples Defence Force (UPDF) and AMISOM Sector 1 Commander, Brigadier General Sam Kavuma was held last evening, Sunday 29 November 2015, in Mogadishu.

Brigadier General Kavuma who has completed a one year tour of duty in Somalia handed over the reigns of power to the incoming Contingent Commander Brig General Sam Okiding.

Like his predecessor, Brig. Gen. Okiding will be in-charge of Sector 1 region, currently under the control of Ugandan peacekeepers. Sector 1 troops secure Banaadir and Lower Shabelle regions and protects State House, all government ministries, Parliament, Aden Abdule International Airport and the sea port.

The Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (DSRSG) for Somalia Mr. Raisedon Zenenga was the chief guest at the send off ceremony.

“We are here to celebrate, not his departure but his achievements and we are here to thank him for the great work he has done. Gen Kavuma, you had the most difficult task in the world. That is not an exaggeration and the verdict on your performance is very clear from not only what we have heard tonight but from what we witness ourselves daily,”  said Mr. Zenenga.

The Force Commander Lt. Gen. Jonathan Rono reminisced about their experiences on the frontline and commended his bravery. He said, “You have done your bit, you have done your job. To the incoming Commander, you have been inducted.”

The incoming Contingent Commander Brigadier General Sam Okiding served in the Mission in 2012 during the Afgoye and Baidoa operations.

“The complexity of this operation is still fresh in my mind because it entails a lot of languages; the diplomatic, the military, political, cultural languages and so on and so forth but my blessings and salvation is that I have all of you. There is no way Brigadier Okiding will fail when I have all the support,” he noted.

In his remarks, Brigadier General Kavuma said, “The Mission is still on, it still needs all our efforts, I want to wish you all the best, I want to wish our Mission success and I’ll always pray for you so that you don’t get any issues with the mind and health, so that in future we can come back to Somalia as tourists ,to enjoy our fruits. I’m very sure that this Mission is going forward.”

Present at the ceremony were Ugandan Ambassador to Somalia Major Gen. Nathan Mugisha, AMISOM Deputy Force Commander Gen. Nakibus Lakara, Brigadier General Antonio Maggi EUTM Somalia and senior military officers from the Somali National Army and Somali Police Force.

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.