Mogadishu, 27 October 2021 – The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) has celebrated outgoing Uganda People’s Defence Forces officers in recognition of their contribution to peace and stability efforts.
A medal and certificate awards ceremony was held in Mogadishu, Thursday for a group of officers from the Uganda Battle Group XXXIII (UGABAG XXXIII) who have completed a one-year tour of duty in Somalia under ATMIS.
The ceremony was presided over by the ATMIS Deputy Force Commander in charge of Operations and Plans, Maj. Gen. William Kitsao Shume, who thanked the outgoing troops for their contributions to fulfilling the ATMIS mandate.
“We are proud of your contributions and achievements,” said Maj. Gen. Shume. “As you return home, feel proud that the Somali people are happy and grateful for what you have accomplished. Also, the Somali National Army, which you have continued to mentor, appreciates the work you do.”
During their tour of duty, the battle group personnel were stationed at Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) in Arbiska, Albao, Lafore, and Lantabur, located in the Lower Shabelle region. Additionally, the troops secured key government installations in Mogadishu, including the presidential palace, Mogadishu seaport, the federal parliament, and the ATMIS base camp.
The Uganda ATMIS contingent commander, Brig. Gen.Keith Katungi, praised the outgoing battle group for conducting offensive operations against Al-Shabaab terrorists, and securing the federal parliamentary and presidential elections.
“It was important for us to look inward and ensure that the political transition and election period was smooth,” said Brig. Gen. Katungi.
In addition, the troops of the outgoing UGABAG XXXIII maintained cordial relations with local Somali communities and secured routes that enabled the safe movement of people and goods along the main supply routes.
UGABAG XXIII, under the command of Col. Ezra Mwinyi Byaruhanga, deployed to Somalia in October 2021. A new battle group, UGABAG XXXVI, commanded by Col. James Musiitwa will replace the outgoing battle group.