Mogadishu:-The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has awarded medals and certificates to Ugandan soldiers for their outstanding role in ensuring a safer and stable Somalia.
The soldiers from Battle Group 28, serving under AMISOM were awarded medals at a ceremony presided over by the AMISOM Force Commander. Lt. Gen. Diomede Ndegeya and attended by the Contingent Commander of Ugandan troops in Somalia, Brig. Gen. Don William Nabasa.
Under the command of Col. Wilberforce Sserunkuma, the soldiers will soon rotate out of the mission, having completed their tour of duty, and will be replaced by Battle Group 31, commanded by Col. Francis Aragmoi.
Lt. Gen. Ndegeya praised the soldiers, who have concluded their tour of duty in Somalia for their gallantry, leading to the capture of several key bridge towns, such as Awdhegle and Janaale in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia, from the militant group Al-Shabaab, and winning the hearts and minds of the local communities by implementing Quick Impact Projects (QIPs).
“I want to thank the Battle Group 28 Commander and his staff, and the troops of the whole battlegroup for a job well done in operational activities, CIMIC Quick Impact Projects, and in fighting COVID-19,” Lt. Gen. Ndegeya said at the ceremony held on Monday in Mogadishu, Somalia.
Lt. Gen. Ndegeya added that the Mission leadership recognizes and appreciates the efforts of the Battle Group in capturing and holding the bridge towns and other daunting operations that they conducted, alongside the Somali National Army, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
The outgoing Battle Group was operating in the Lower Shabelle region conducting targeted military operations against the Al-Shabaab in the areas of Ceeljaale, Shalambot, Mashalay, Qoryoley, Buufow and Marka among others.
The Force Commander urged the in-coming Battle Group 31 to emulate the outgoing Battle Group by performing even better, especially through community engagement initiatives, protection of civilians and in opening and securing the main supply routes, to ensure the free movement of goods and services.
Col. Sserunkuma, commended his troops for swiftly adopting to their new environment, and continuing to implement the mission’s mandate, amid challenges brought about by the covid-19 pandemic, resulting in troops serving on the mission for extra five months.
“The period of a year and five months in the mission area has been quite a testing and challenging experience in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic that came along with various restrictions,” Col. Sserunkuma said but lauded his troops for adopting to the situation.
Later in the day, Brig. Gen. Nabasa presided over a handover ceremony in which Col. Sserunkuma handed over instruments of power to Col. Aragamoi.
“I pledge and commit, with the support of the Sector One Commander, to take up the mantle,” said Col. Aragamoi.
“We must work with the civilian population and support them. We must mentor our brothers- the SNA and other Somali Security Forces so that when we leave, we know that our efforts were not wasted,” said Brig. Gen. Nabasa.
During their 17-month tour of duty, Battle Group 28 also conducted medical outreach and sanitation campaigns with the local population, provided clean water to internally displaced persons, distributed Covid-19 protective equipment to local communities, boosted income generating activities and sports by donating sewing machines and sports equipment to local communities in their Areas of Responsibility (AoR).