A Pillar of Stability: Ugandan Troops Earn Praise in Somalia

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A Pillar of Stability: Ugandan Troops Earn Praise in Somalia
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In a visit to the Ceel Jaale Forward Operating Base in Somalia, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) chief, Ambassador Mohamed Al-Amine Souef, lauded the Ugandan Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) for their unwavering commitment to peace and stability in the war-torn nation.

Ambassador Souef's visit served a dual purpose: assessing the current security situation and preparing UPDF troops for the upcoming drawdown of ATMIS forces. However, his primary focus was on commending their efforts.

"I want to thank the government of Uganda, led by His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, and the UPDF for the good work done in the liberation of Somalia," declared Ambassador Souef. His praise extended beyond military prowess, emphasizing the importance of fostering social cohesion and reconciliation as Somalia rebuilds.

"Social cohesion and reconciliation are key for the betterment and development of Somalia," he stressed. This message of unity resonated throughout his address, urging Somalis to cast aside past conflicts and work together for a brighter future.

Ambassador Souef assured the Somali people that security would not vanish with the eventual departure of ATMIS. He placed the onus on Somalis themselves, urging them to "forget the civil war and clan conflicts" and embrace a spirit of collaboration. "ATMIS is part of the way," he explained, "continue to support them, they will continue to protect you as they can."

The Sector One Commander, Brig Gen Anthony Lukwago Mbuusi, echoed Ambassador Souef's sentiments, highlighting the success of the UPDF's multifaceted approach. Clan mediation, a strong civil-military relationship, and engagement with key leaders have all played a crucial role in stabilizing the region.

General Mbuusi also emphasized the importance of creating an environment where Somali Federal Government forces can take on a more prominent security role. This focus on empowering local forces is a critical step towards a sustainable and independent Somalia.

The positive impact of the UPDF extended beyond security. Chief Yusuf Osman Ali, representing the Ceel Jaale locals, warmly welcomed the delegation. He spoke of Ceel Jaale as a "great city with hospitable people accommodating all clans and people of Somalia with excellent cooperation." This spirit of inclusivity is a testament to the positive social changes nurtured by the UPDF's presence.

Ambassador Souef's visit comes on the heels of a planned drawdown of ATMIS forces, with the UPDF scheduled to fully withdraw by December 31st, 2024. While this signifies a significant change, the foundation laid by Ugandan troops promises to endure. Their dedication to fostering stability, community ties, and a path towards self-reliance has positioned Somalia for a brighter future. As they prepare to depart, the UPDF leaves behind a legacy of peace and a nation on the road to recovery.

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