Ugandan troops in Somalia under the AMISOM and the United Nations Guard Unit (UNGU) on Friday celebrated the 39th Tarehe Sita anniversary.
The celebrations started with civil-military activities during the day where they cleaned the Marine Market and later, a dinner function in the evening at the embassy compound.
A vast number of Somali locals from within and outside the market received free medical services courtesy of the UPDF as part of the 39th Tarehe Sita celebrations.
Speaking at the Tarehe Sita dinner, the Ugandan Ambassador to Somalia Prof Sam Turyamuhika said that the UPDF has always been known for its discipline and implored soldiers to uphold the same.
“Right from inception and throughout the five years of struggle in the bush, the hallmark of the National Resistance Army was stringent discipline, especially in pursuit of excellence and success. This you must never lose sight of, now or in future,”Turyamuhika said.
The UPDF contingent commander, Brig. Richard Otto implored the soldiers to work closely with the Somali communities but also treat them well for a successful mission.
“Today’s date reminds us of UPDF the word ‘people’ and the population, that means if you are far from the population, you mistreat the people, the people themselves can even get arms and get you out,” Brig. Otto said.
Meanwhile, the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) officers and men serving under the United Nations Guard Unit Six (UNGU VI) in Somalia participated in the army week’s activities of giving back to the community.
The commanding officer of UNGU VI Lt Col Nathan Bainomugisha reminded the troops not to underestimate the cordial relationship between UPDF and the civilians both internationally and back home in Uganda.
“It’s now 39 years of our marriage with the populace, so if the partnership is to continue more we must continue to respect them,” he said.
Present at the dinner party were; Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) for Somalia Hon Simon Mulongo, Deputy Ugandan Ambassador to Somalia Maj Gen Nathan Mugisha, Defence Advisor Brig .Gen Lucky Kidega, Commanders and Heads of department among others.
Celebrated on February 6 every year, Tarehe Sita is when 40 combatants took to the Luweero bushes through the attack at Kabamba on this exact date to launch an epic five-year struggle that ushered the National Resistance Movement into power.
The attack on Kabamba led to the formation of the National Resistance Army which later metamorphosed into the current army, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces.
Tarehe Sita is therefore meant to celebrate the creation of the UPDF.
This year’s celebrations were held under the theme “Consolidating the UPDF strategic partnership with the people to guard gains of liberation”.
Uganda was the first African country to deploy troops under the African Union Mission in Somalia in 2007 and is currently the largest troop contributor with over 80 of the troops coming from the Pearl of Africa.
The Ugandan troops also 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.