As part of his familiarization tour of all the six sectors that form the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Force Commander Lieutenant General (Lt. Gen.) Diomede Ndegeya today visited the Sector 1 Headquarters in Mogadishu manned by Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF).
The Sector One, whose jurisdiction includes Mogadishu and Lower Shabelle region of Somalia also houses the AMISOM Force Headquarters where the Force Commander Lt. Gen. Ndegeya sits and together with his deputies and a host of other senior AMISOM military commander offer administrative and strategic expertise that runs the entire AMISOM military operations in Somalia.
Lt. Gen. Ndegeya and his entourage were received at the sector one headquarters by the Deputy Uganda Contingent Commander, Colonel John Winston Mugarura, and other senior military officers from the Force Headquarters.
As part of his welcome, Lt. Gen. Ndegeya inspected a guard of honor mounted by Ugandan soldiers, and took part in a closed-door briefing by senior AMISOM officers who included Chief Military Intelligence Officer Colonel David Obonyo, Public Information Officer Lieutenant Colonel Charles Imbiakha, Chief of Staff Brigadier General Domitien Kabisa, and Gender Officer Major Lillian Maela.
In his address to the sector leadership, Lt. Gen. Ndegeya said that it was befitting for his familiarization tour to start at the home of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF), since they were the first to deploy troops to Somalia in March 2007, and have since contributed immensely to a number of gains the mission has made against the Al-Shabaab.
“As the first contingent to have deployed in Somalia, UPDF is praised for bringing home the most significant victories for Somalia, AMISOM, Africa, and the world. Together with the Burundian National Defense Forces who later joined, you both successfully liberated Mogadishu in 2011. This is a huge feat that will always be remembered whenever AMISOM is mentioned,” said Lt. Gen. Ndegeya.
The Force Commander said Ugandan troops have since the 2011 showdown brought many more victories to Somalia, including the capture of Afgoye, Marka, Barawe, Qoryoole, and other key bridge towns in the Lower Shabelle region liberated recently.
“I must also recognize and applaud the UPDF for capturing the key bridge towns of Sabiid-Anole, Bariire, Awdheegle and Ceel Salini, and more recently the victories of the current UPDF combined Sector 1 troops commanded by Brigadier General Richard Otto, in capturing the key bridge town of Janaale,” said Lt. Gen. Ndegeya.
He said the capture in March of Janaale in particular stands out as a recent significant triumph because the bridge town was very strategic for the Al Shabaab, and that their losing it weakened them.
The Force Commander however warned that these victories did not come on a silver platter, and together with the AMISOM commander present he led a moment of silence in honor of the fallen heroes and heroines whose sacrifice has made it possible for the Federal Government of Somalia to function.
“I have nothing new to tell you, except that victory is near. So, let us redouble our efforts and tirelessly continue to work to liberate this great African country, Somalia,” Lt. Gen Ndegeya said.