The Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) of the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF), Gen David Muhoozi, has flagged off Uganda Battle Group XXVII to Somalia.
While addressing the 1,800 troops commanded by Col Kosiya Kuteesa and deputized by Col Rogers Okiror, the CDF counseled the combatants to use the knowledge they acquired in mission training since September 2018 to professionally conduct their operations bearing in mind that it is a war situation where operational mistakes can lead to loss of lives.
“The Somalia mission is not a picnic; it is a war situation. It is a dose and dies mission. Watch each other’s back and ensure you adhere to the principles of war and standing operation procedures at all time.” Gen Muhoozi said.
He added that the mission is built on the UPDF’s pro-people ideology which is part of the reason for the Force’s successes in its operations. “As opposed to the previous perception that the Somalia mission was an impossible one, with discipline and adherence to rules of engagement based on our pro-people ideology, we made the mission possible.” Gen Muhoozi said.
Under the auspices of the African Union, Uganda has maintained a presence in Somalia since 2007 fighting the militant al Shabaab group that had turned the then lawless country into a launch pad for terrorism in the region.
Other countries with troops in Somalia include Kenya, Burundi, Ethiopia, and Djibouti.
Uganda has at least 6,000 troops of the total 22,000-strong AMISOM force.
However, these have been targets of Alshabab attack where a recent one in April last year left four Uganda army officers dead and others injured after suspected Al-Shabaab terrorists attempted to attack AMISOM Forward Operating Bases at Quoroyole, Buulo Mareer and Golwen in Lower Shabelle Region of Somalia.