By Mubiru Ivan
Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers have been awarded African Union medals and certificates for their distinguished contribution towards bringing peace in Somalia.
The medals were given to Uganda Battle Group XXIII (UGBG XXIII) at a colorful ceremony organized at the Uganda Contingent Headquarters in Mogadishu-Somalia.
The awarding ceremony came after BGXX111’s end of one year tour of duty in Somalia.
The group began the tour on January 1, 2018 under the command of Col Eliazari Zake Okolong.
Uganda’s Deputy Ambassador to Somalia, Maj Gen Nathan Mugisha congratulated BG XXIII for a job well done in ‘degrading Al-Shabaab, maintaining peace and stability through securing Main Supply Routes, Protection of civilians and neutralizing Al-Shabaab amidst numerous challenges.’
“You have maintained the good image of UPDF by giving a ‘bloody nose,’ to Alshabaab when it attacked your defence in Bulomareer,” He said.
He also urged the incoming BGXXVI to work harder, maintain resilience and vigilance copying from BGXXIII that is rotating out from the mission area.
Maj Gen Maurice Gateretse, the Deputy Force Commander in charge of Support and Logistics who represented AMISOM Force Commander Lt Gen Jim Oweyesigyire thanked BGXXIII troops for exhibiting high level expertise and good discipline during their one year stay in Somalia.
“AMISOM is showing appreciation to the gallant UPDF soldiers for all the success registered during the mission. I appreciate those gallant comrades that have paid the ultimate price to see our brothers and sisters in Somalia enjoy peace and stability,” said Gen. Gateretse.
Present at the medal and certificate awarding ceremony were the Uganda Defence Attache to Somalia, Brig Lucky Kidega, guests from partners (Bancroft Global Development , UN) and senior UPDF officers in Somalia.