The new force commander of the African Union Mission in Somalia(AMISOM), Lt Gen Diomede Ndegeya has made his maiden visit to Sector One, which is manned by Ugandan troops in Somalia.
The force commander is on a familiarization tour of all AMISOM sectors in Somalia, starting with Sector One.
General Ndegeya was received by the Deputy Sector One Commander who is also the Deputy Commander of Uganda’s Contingent, Col John Winston Mugarura.
The force commander lauded Ugandan AMISOM forces for their recent capture of key towns of Sabiid-Anole, Bariire, Awdheegle, Ceel Salini and Jannale, under the stewardship of Brig Gen Richard Otto.
The General observed that the captured towns were very strategic to Al-Shabaab.
He noted that the towns provide a significant military advantage of accessibility and linkage and, hence, their capture is a solid contribution to peace in not only Somalia, but the entire region.
General Ndegeya paid tribute to the fallen soldiers while on duty in Somalia. “Please remember that the ultimate sacrifice of their lives was not in vain. Surely, we would not be sitting here comfortably today if it was not for their bravery in bringing peace to Somalia. We will never forget them and we will fight to the end until when there will be no more Al-Shabaab in Somalia, until we finish what they started,” Gen.Ndegeya said.
He also saluted efforts by President Museveni, the UPDF Chief of Defence Forces Gen David Muhoozi and Ugandan citizens for their commitment in bringing peace in Somalia.
Col Winston Mugarura pledged sector one’s continued support towards the successful execution of AMISOM mandate.
Present were AMISOM Chief of Staff Brig Gen Domitien Kabisa, Sector One Chief Administrative Officer Col Elvis Byamukama and other Officers from both AMISOM Force Headquarters and Sector One.
The Ugandan troops control the largest area in Somalia after being 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.
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.
In some of the fiercest battles, in 2011, the Al Shabaab militants were expelled from Bakara market, which was one of the insurgents’ strongholds in Mogadishu and since then, the jihadists have never returned to Mogadishu.
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.
Since their expulsion from Mogadishu, Al Shabaab insurgents loom in other areas mostly in the Lower Shabelle region.