UNRA equips UPDF Marines Brigade soldiers with skills for operating ferries

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UNRA equips UPDF Marines Brigade soldiers with skills for operating  ferries
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A total of  20 UPDF  Marine Brigade trainees who were undergoing a six-month basic sailing and maintenance of modular ferry course from the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) have been  passed out at Nakiwogo landing site in Wakiso district.

The Works and Transport Minister, Gen. Katumba Wamala who presided over the function applauded UNRA’s efforts to build the capacity and transport system to facilitate the domestic, regional and international connectivity to support the growth and competitiveness of the nation.

The Minister said the trainees will join the UPDF’s Operation Shujaa, an ongoing military offensive by the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda against Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) to help in the transportation of soldiers, logistics and also incase of any emergency among others on the lake between the two countries.

“When we were heading to Congo for Operation Shujaa, we had to cross River Semliki and we didn’t have capacity to cross. So,  we had to send our civilian operators from UNRA but of course we saw they were operating in a strange environment, so we are privileged that now we have our trained soldiers who will be operation on the lake," Gen Wamala said.

He  also highlighted various water development projects being undertaken including the rehabilitation  of Port Bell, Jinja pier and also construction of Bukasa port to handle cargo with in water transport system.

The head of enforcement at UNRA, John Bosco Ssejemba, commended the trainees for exhibiting skills during the training and the authority will train more soldiers with the aim of capacitating the water transport system across the country.

He acknowledged his commitment towards cooperation with UPDF to carry out a multi-model approach to ensure better connectivity between various modes of transport in order to reduce the cost of transportation.

“When Operation Shujaa entered Congo, there was a need for us to deploy a ferry and we did it at Ntoroko to cross river Semliki. Therefore, we took a decision to train these soldiers operate in a more pontoon modular ferries” Ssejemba added.

According to the Divisions operations and training officer of Mountain Division, Col Godfrey Kyomuhendo, this partnership with UNRA is a significant move to improve the capability of UPDF to fight the ADF through movement of the waters especially crossing River Semliki.

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