|President Museveni inspects a guard of honor mounted by UPDF at a past function.|
|Off to Somalia:UPDF Forces|
|Press Photographer takes UPDF picture.|
The Uganda Peoples Defense Forces has today flagged off a contingent of 28 senior officers to the Somali capital Mogadishu. Also dispatched are several AU aircrafts meant to strengthen the war-torn country’s air force ahead of this month’s elections.
The team was flagged off by the Chief of Defence Forces Gen, Aronda Nyakairima and the Commander of the Air Force Lt. Gen. Jim Owesigire.Gen. Nyakairima said the team will specifically be mandated to boost the air force and other sectors. He says this is a great opportunity for Uganda to further help the country as it prepares for the August 20th polls.
Aronda adds that it is also a great boost to the AMISOM Force which has been operating without an air force. He challenged the officers to maintain high levels of discipline while they execute their duties.
Meanwhile as Somalia marks the first anniversary of the liberation of the capital, Mogadishu, from Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Boubacar Diarra, has reaffirmed the African Union’s commitment to supporting the country’s peace process.
He said; “As Somalia marks this important anniversary and prepares to end the Transition, the African Union Mission in Somalia will continue to work with the Somali authorities to create conditions conducive to the deepening of the national dialogue and reconciliation process. At this crucial election period, and as AMISOM forces continue to help secure more areas of the country, we urge Somali leaders to remain united and put the national interest first.”
Twelve months ago, the Somali National Army with the support of the AMISOM forces pushed the Al -Shabaab terror group from fixed positions within the city, ushering in the longest period of relative peace the capital has had since the collapse of central government in 1991. Following this, Mogadishu has experienced a construction boom as residents return to rebuild their homes and businesses. Markets have been reopened, schools and hospitals established, and roads repaired.
The Aden Adde International Airport has been refurbished and international carriers, such as Turkish Airlines, are operating regular flights into and out of the capital. Somali and AMISOM forces have secured the strategic town of Afgoye, the Northern town of Bal’ad and key other strategic positions. They have also secured Baidoa and large parts of Hiraan, Bay Bakool, Gedo, Middle and Lower Juba from the extremists.
Those military gains and the liberation of new areas have contributed to the effective participation of Somalis from all walks of life to the political process currently underway. The peace process has been invigorated and last week, a National Constituent Assembly adopted a provisional constitution which will pave the way to the next election of Parliamentarians, a decisive step for the Somalis who, through free election of their representatives, will now take their destiny in their own hands.