Somali President Extols UPDF Over Fighting Al-Shabab for 15 Years

Photo Courtesy of Somali President Mohamud handing over an award to Brig Gen Keith Katungi

Somalia’s President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, has extolled Uganda People’s Defence Forces -UPDF for fiercely fighting Al-Shabaab terrorists for now 15 years.

UPDF has had troops in Somalia since in 2007 under African Mission in Somalia – AMISOM which was then bankrolled by powerful military and financial countries like US, France, UK and China.

Even when AMISOM arrangement ended in early this year, UPDF stayed under a new program dubbed African Transition Mission -ATMIS. But in these 15 years, UPDF alongside others forces from Burundi, Kenya and Ethiopia, has managed to push Al-Shabab out of major towns and government installations.

Based on that background, President Mohamud, has said UPDF foot prints in the history of Somalia and will always be recognized. “The impact one has on ground is what makes a difference,” Mohamud said.

Mohamud was speaking to the new commander of UPDF Land Forces, Lt Gen Kayanja Muhanga, who paid him a courtesy call at Villa Somalia.

Gen Kayanja was last month appointed UPDF Land Forces commander replacing Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

During his visit to President Mohamud, Gen Muhanga, was accompanied by Brig Gen Peter Omola; the new UPDF contingent commander in Somalia and Brig Gen Keith Katungi who has completed his tour of duty.

Mohamud also applauded his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni, for the support rendered to Somalia in the fight against Al-Shabaab. “There is hope that we will soon finish this situation” Mohamud said.

Brig Katungi was also thanked for commanding Ugandan troops and exhibiting neutrality during his tenure. “You worked under difficult political situation and created a neutral ground for political transition,” Mohamud said.

Brig Katungi wished all the best to his predecessor Brig Omola. Gen Muhanga congratulated Mohamud upon his re-election into the office of the Presidency and affirmed to him Uganda and UPDF’s commitment to upholding Uganda-Somalia-historical relations.

“The government of Uganda and UPDF will always work shoulder-to shoulder with the Federal Government of Somalia and the Somali National Security Forces for the mutual benefits of our sister countries and the region” Gen Muhanga said.

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