Life inside a UPDF camp in Somalia

Sheila Tusiime Mugisha

Life as a soldier involves fighting and requires patience, if any force is to emerge victorious.

But as our gallant soldiers sacrifice to secure Somalia, few people know what kind of life they lead.

The Nile Post took a tour of Celijalle, one of the forward operating bases of the UPDF in Somalia and documented the experiences of soldiers living there.

During interviews, some soldiers recounted the long periods of time spent sitting in camps waiting for their chance to fight.

While in camps, soldiers actually hear the sounds of war and battle from nearby and became restless and want to go and fight.

“It is tense and you are anxious. You don’t know when you will be called to take part in the action,” said one of the soldiers.

But quite often, many outside the camp, and back home, assume that the living conditions for the UPDF soldiers in Somalia are pathetic.

The Celijalle base in Somalia hosts over 200 UPDF soldiers.  Here, you will find a group of Somali youth who take time off to socialise, by engaging in leisure football matches.

A few meters away from the football pitch, is the UPDF base. The soldiers do all sorts of work ranging from cleaning water pumps to supplying water within.

Inside the camp is a unique kitchen.

It is a movable kitchen, stationed outside within what they have designated as a kitchen area and another mini kitchen inside.

Major Yosam Birigwa the head of logistics at this camp explains that the food cooked in this camp is brought every 23 days and is provided by the United Nations.

This food is stored in four different sections depending on the type of food.

However transportation of the food remains the biggest challenge, due to the insecurity along the different routes.

This camp, just like any other forward operating bases, is equipped with a maintenance section, which mainly deals with breakdown of equipment within the camp.

So even with gunshots once in a while and attacks from the Al-Shabaab, the UPDF soldiers on mission enjoy a bit of comfort as they fight to secure Somalia.



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