The Spokesman of UPDF and Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Brig. Richard Karemire has said Ugandans should take pride in the national army’s pacification of fragile Somalia.
Speaking during the signing ceremony of a book titled “Black Hawks Rising” on Saturday in Kampala, Brig. Karemire stated that the achievements of UPDF in Somalia is priceless and one that all Ugandans should celebrate.
“UPDF made great strides in Somalia and I expect all Ugandans to be happy and proud of what our men and women on uniform are doing there,” he said.
The UPDF soldiers under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) landed in the partially controlled Horn of African nation’s capital Mogadishu, in 2007 and were later joined by the Burundian army.
UPDF and Burundian army were joined by the Kenyan Defence Force (KDF) 5 years later. KDF entered Somalia on 16th October 2011 in an operation codenamed Linda Nchi, originally in pursuit of Al-Shabaab militants who had kidnapped foreign tourists from Kenya.
The Kenyan army later formally joined AMISOM, which now also include forces from Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Djibouti.
Somalia was largely in the hands of Al-Shabaab and tribal militia before the entry of AMISOM and the Transitional Federal Government itself was operating from the Southwestern Bay regional capital, Baidoa.
When the United Nations Security Council expanded AMISOM mandate from defence to offensive against the Al-Shabaab in 2010, a year later, on 6th August 2011 the Islamic militants were totally driven out of Central Mogadishu giving the then government of Sheikh Sharif Ahmed control of a strategic territory.
According to Karemire, relative stability has been restored in Mogadishu and many development activities are taking place in the capital that was a night mare before August 2011.
“Mogadishu is now relatively stable and quite much development taking place. It wasn’t the case before AMISOM and Transitional Federal Government took full control of Mogadishu,” he added.
Black Hawks Rising, which details the establishment and deployment of AMISOM in Somalia, triumphs, setbacks and victories of the continental force, is written by Canadian based Ugandan writer, Dr. Opio Oloya.