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Brig Kavuma takes command of Ugandan AMISOM troops

Storyline:National News

A contingent of Ugandan peacekeepers under the African Union Commission in Somalia (AMISOM) has returned home after serving more than a year in Somalia.

A plane carrying the last group of peacekeepers from Uganda Battle Group (UGABAG12) touched down at Entebbe Air force base at about 11:00am local time on Saturday.

The troops led by the outgoing Uganda AMISOM contingent commander, Brig Dick Olum, were received by the Chief of Defense Forces, Gen Katumba Wamala, the Commander Land Forces, Maj Gen David Muhoozi and several other top UPDF officers.

At a brief ceremony held at the air force base, Brig Olum handed over the Ugandan flag to Gen Katumba, who in turn handed it to Brig Sam Kavuma.

Kavuma takes charge as the new commander of the Uganda AMISOM contingent and Sector One region in Somalia which is under control of Ugandan peacekeepers.

Sector One covers Banadir and lower Shabelle regions, and protects State House, all government ministries, Parliament, Mogadishu International airport and sea ports.

Walking in a file as they disembarked from the plane, the returning peacekeepers, dressed in neat AMISOM uniform with green caps and matching cream boots, were received with a serenade by the UPDF air force band.

Relatives of some of the returning officers were present as the troops mounted a guard of honour, in apparent display of valour they exhibited during battle in Somalia.

Gen Katumba commended the peacekeepers for their effort to stabilize Somalia by driving the Al-Shabaab group from their strongholds and guarding key installations.

“We are proud of the work you have accomplished. AMISOM has achieved a lot since 2007 when we were only controlling blocks in Mogadishu,” said the general.

He warned the soldiers against extravagance and advised them to use their savings from the mission to engage in productive activities.

“There will be excitement as you return home. Don’t go out there to show off what you have earned through blood and sweat. Instead, improve your livelihood.”

The army chief paid tribute to 13 peacekeepers killed in the line of duty in Somalia. Out of 2,930 UGABAG12 peacekeepers, a total of 17 troops lost their lives during the mission.

Uganda has sent 17 battle groups to Somalia since 2007, each on a one-year mission.

UGABAG12, which left for Somalia in September last year, was crucial in driving the Al-Shabaab from Barawe, their key stronghold in an October offensive under Operation Indian Ocean.

Narrating the experience of the peacekeepers in their battle against Al-Shabab, Brig Olum said the troops were driven by confidence and determination.

Source: Newvision