A total of nine UPDF soldiers have been quarantined in Somalia where they are serving under AMISOM after coming into contact with an infected person.
Early this week, a UPDF soldier tested positive to the virus in Mogadishu.
“The virus has not spared Somalia just like other countries and it is true one of our soldiers serving under AMISOM in Somalia tested positive of Coronavirus .We have a medical team handling him at level II hospital in Mogadishu. He is being managed and in a stable condition,” the UPDF spokesperson, Brig. Richard Karemire said on Wednesday.
However, this website has learnt that nine other colleagues of his have since been quarantined after coming into contact with the infected soldier.
The deputy army spokesperson, Lt. Col. Deo Akiiki confirmed the development but noted that stringent measures have been put in place to ensure there is no spread of the virus among the troops.
“Task forces on the base camp and the Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) have been constituted whereas hand wash points have been installed in the base camp and Forward Operating Bases. All shops except banks have been closed,” Akiiki told the Nile Post.
He revealed that the base camp where the UPDF’s main base is currently under total lockdown for a period of two weeks whereas measures to minimize movements including a curfew starting from 1800 hours to 0500 hours have been put in place.
“Gatherings of all sorts have been suspended and if at all the Contingent Commander must meet the soldiers, social distancing is observed. We have distributed booklets on Covid-19 awareness and mitigation measures in the base camp and the Forward Operating Bases,” the deputy army spokesperson said.
“Disinfectants, hand sanitisers and face masks have been distributed whereas internal passenger flights were also suspended except those moving cargo and evacuating casualties or the dead. An isolation facility at LII field hospital has been designated to take care of any cases.”
Somalia has 601 confirmed Coronavirus cases, 28 deaths and 31 recoveries.
The UPDF was the first army to deploy in Somalia under the AMISOM in 2007 and by then, the Ugandan army was controlling less than 10% of the battered capital Mogadishu, the biggest part being in the hands of the Al Shabaab insurgents.
UPDF’s deployment demystified the saying that AMISOM was a “dead on arrival” mission before opening the way for other countries to send armies in Somalia.
This saw the expulsion of the Islamist group linked to Al Quaeda from Mogadishu in 2011.
Since their expulsion from Mogadishu, Al Shabaab insurgents loom in other areas mostly in the Lower Shabelle region but have continued to lose more group to AMISOM troops.
Uganda has over 6000 troops that are deployed in Sector One in Benadir,(has 16 districts) Banadir, and Lower Shabelle regions having pushed Al Shabaab militants for over 200km away from Mogadishu city.