Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The commander of Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) Battle Group 37, Col. Charles Asiimwe has said that UPDF deployment in Somalia is based on a Pan-Africanism spirit to ensure peace, security and social-economic transformation.
He made the remarks while meeting Somali local leaders and security officials in Marka Lower, Shabelle region of Somalia. “We are here on an African Union (AU) mandate to fulfil a Pan-Africanism spirit of ensuring peace, security and social-economic transformation across Africa.
“We cannot watch when our brothers in Somalia are suffering yet what affects Somalia affects Africa. That’s why we are here to offer support within our means,” Col Asiimwe explained. He further noted that African countries need each other and none of them can work independently, asking them to report all Al-Shabaab elements to security forces to restore peace and security throughout the country.
Marka District Commissioner, Osman Mohamed Musa, who was accompanied by the Marka chief, Sheik Yusuf commended the UPDF for stabilizing Somalia and pledged to support and encourage entrepreneurs both from Uganda and all over the world to invest in Somalia.
The Somali National Army Commander in Marka, Maj Abdulkadir Munye said Somali Security Forces are jointly working with UPDF in Marka and Jilbi to destroy Al-Shabaab secret camps around El-Marade, Garas, Gawaan, Galka and Salimo. He also noted that they are committed to ensuring that peace returns in Somalia.
Battle Group 37 is serving in Somalia to fulfil the mandate of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). Uganda is one of the ATMIS troop-contributing countries with personnel serving alongside troops from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.
The Battle Group replaced Battle Group 34 which completed its one-year tour of duty in Somalia last month. The new battalion has a task to secure areas in Lower Shabelle, with its headquarters in Ceel Jaale town.