Mogadishu The African Union (AU) has awarded medals to a contingent of Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDF) soldiers for their prominent role in securing strategic towns and major supply routes in Somalia.
The troops, who have completed their one-year tour of duty, were honored for their hard work in safeguarding Mogadishu International Airport zone, areas neighboring Mogadishu and major supply routes connecting the capital city and other nearby towns.
I commend Battlegroup 24 for their industrious approach in preventing Al-Shabaab from conducting complex attacks in the Mogadishu International Airport area and securing districts of Banadir, Afgooye, and parts of Waleweyn, Force Commander of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Lt. Gen. Tigabu Yilma Wondimhunegn said at a medal awards ceremony held in Mogadishu on Tuesday.
He noted that residents of Mogadishu and neighboring areas were able to go about their business, due to the security provided by the outgoing battlegroup.
Deployed in April last year, the battlegroup's area of responsibility included Arbiska, Baledogle, Afgoye, Lantabur, and Albao. The contingent was also responsible for securing key government facilities and installations including State House, Parliament, seaport and Mogadishu International Airport zone.
UPDF Contingent Commander Brig. Gen. Michael Kabango praised the battlegroup for their commitment and hard work in fulfilling AMISOM's mandate of stabilizing Somalia.
We can now drive, transport supplies from Mogadishu to Baledogle and civilians living around this area are also safe thanks to the efforts made by Battlegroup 24 under AMISOM, he said.
Kabango noted that efforts to clear main supply routes were bearing fruit, saying AMISOM can now transport consignments from Mogadishu, through Afgooye to the port city of Marka. He stated that UPDF has succeeded in Somalia due to its involvement in counterinsurgency operations back at home and participation in regional peacekeeping efforts in the continent.
Some of the major successes registered by the outgoing battlegroup include the liberation of the strategic town of Sabiid Anole, in Lower Shabelle, from al-Shabaab control and seizing and disabling a large number of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in its area of operation.
On his part, Battlegroup Commander Col. Jackson Kayanja thanked the AMISOM leadership for supporting his troops during their tour of duty.
Source: International Islamic News Agency