The Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF)Chief of Defense Forces (CDF), Gen. David Muhoozi, has flagged- off nearly 2 000 soldiers to Somalia.
Dispatching the two elite UPDF units from their Singo base in Nakaseke district, the CDF said: “The Somalia Mission demands both discipline and sacrifice for one to be successful. Therefore, work hard while there and don’t let down Uganda. The groups sent to Somalia are:.the Battle Group XXV (BGXXV) 1,465 soldiers and United Nations Guard Unit (UNGUV) 530 soldiers.
He added that the UPDF is in Somalia in line with its Pan-Africanist ideology of supporting fellow Africans whenever called upon. This is the reason for Uganda’s mandate in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
But Muhoozi told the soldiers that life in the mission area is not a picnic, but a mission that demands hard work and keeping keen adherence to rules of engagement.He cautioned them to make sure that they return healthy as they have gone, since UPDF as an institution, has already invested so much in them. “Avoid propaganda, because avoiding it will make you winners and allow you to carry the Ugandan Flag very high up” he said.
The UPDF Commander of Land Forces Maj. Gen. Peter Elwelu, who accompanied the CDF thanked the soldiers of BGXXV and UNGUV for successfully completing the training and wished them well in their mission. He reminded them that, he had earlier commanded the Uganda Mission there and knows that Somalia is a fighting area that calls for discipline and professionalism.
Brig. Jack Bakasumba, the Commandant of the Peace Support Operations Training Centre-Singo noted that the training was well done and urged soldiers to avoid excuses while in Somalia. He urged the soldiers of BGXXV and UNGUV to work together whenever deployed in any mission area
BGXXV will be commanded by Col. Paul Muwanguzi and deputized by Lt. Col. C. K Asiimwe, while Col. Stuart Agaba, will command UNGUV,deputized by Maj. Edward Mugisha.
The flaging-off ceremony was attended by Dr. Opiyo Oloya, of the famous “Black Hawk Rising”, a book that details UPDF activities in Somalia.The representatives from the British Training Team, and other UPDF Chiefs and Directors, were also on hand to see off the soldiers to Somalia.