NAKASEKE – A total of 1828 officers and men of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) have been flagged off for a peacekeeping mission in Somalia.
The group, comprising of Uganda Battle Group (UGABAG) XXVIII and United Nations Guard Unit (UNGU) VI were flagged off to Somalia on Wednesday by Lt. Gen. Wilson Mbasu Mbadi, the Deputy Chief of Defence Forces, at Singo Peace Support Operation Centre in Nakaseke district.
While addressing the forces, Mbadi expressed gratitude towards the partners that have supported the UPDF in its pre-deployment training and praised the team now under a new name of Global Peace Operation Initiative (GPOI) for a job well done.
On the same note, he thanked the UPDF instructors for equally keeping the standard of both the centre and training officers to international standards, a statement issued by the UPDF deputy spokesperson, Lt. Col. Deo Akiiki, said.
Mbadi applauded the troops for perseverance and the hard work they have exhibited throughout their stay at the training center.
However, he was quick to remind them not to sleep while on the mission but work harder than ever before so as to consolidate their predecessors’ achievements in Somalia.
He implored them to save their mission allowances with the UPDF SACCO, and use it well to prepare for their future retirement journey.
“You have left Uganda to go and add a productive stone in the stability of Somalia which will, in the long run, add to the total stability of the African continent. Strive harder so that those who judged us by our heights will remember the depth from where we started the mission,” he emphasized.
At the same ceremony, the Deputy Commander Land Forces, Maj. Gen. Sam Kavuma urged the soldiers to put patriotism, discipline, and good fighting at the forefront as they execute their duties in Somalia since they are pillars that make UPDF stand tall as a force on the continent.
Kavuma thanked the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs and the UPDF leadership for the continued support given to the training centre which has helped it to strive to greater heights.
“It is in the mandate of the Commander Land Forces to mobilise for the Peace Support Operations center, but nevertheless, it takes full responsibility of the soldiers to be resilient and perform as expected during the training, I congratulate you on that,” he remarked.
Kavuma commended the troops for appreciating the services of Wazalendo SACCO and reminded them that Wazalendo is growing faster than any other SACCO in the country and to match its speed, soldiers should push upfront with it by not getting and investing loans in what he referred to as liabilities but rather in assets that are income-generating.
The outgoing Commandant Peace Support Operations Singo, Brig. Jackson Bakasumba, told the troops that they have been ably trained and that he was satisfied with their readiness. He asked for nothing else but exceptional performance. Bakasumba handed over the troops to the Deputy CDF (Mbadi) for official deployment into the mission.
The flag-off function was among others attended by a delegation from the African Union, representatives of the Netherlands Training Team, US military, and British Training teams.
UGABAG XXVIII, the 28th contingent to be sent to Somalia will be commanded by Col. Wilberforce Sserunkuuma while UNGU VI, the sixth UN guard unit, will be under Lt. Col. Nathan Bainomugisha.