A battle group from the Uganda Peoples Defence Force (UPDF) is set to leave Somalia after completing a year-long tour of duty under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
The troops under the battle group named 'UGABAG XXVI,' on Saturday, received African Union medals and certificates in recognition of their contribution to the security and peace process in Somalia.
Collectively, Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Kenya contribute troops to AMISOM. A new battle group, UGABAG XXIX, will replace the outgoing battle group.
The AMISOM Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Tigabu Yilma, hailed the departing troops for securing the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia and the capital, Mogadishu.
"You liberated Sabiid-Anole, El-Saliini, Bariire, and Awdheegle, and Baledogle in coordination with the Somali Security Forces. As Africans, we are proud of you for sacrificing your lives for peace in Somalia and Eastern Africa," Lt. Gen. Tigabu revealed.
The troops secured main supply routes (MSR) to allow the safe movement of people and goods. They also protected population centres and conducted joint operations with the Somali National Army (SNA) to liberate areas from terrorists.
The Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) for Somalia, Simon Mulongo, hailed the troops for the cordial relations with the Somali National Army and the civilian population.
"We congratulate the Sector Commander and the entire echelon of the sector for performing to the pride of the African Union and African people," Mulongo said.
Brig. Michael Kabango, the outgoing Uganda contingent commander, hailed his officers, men and women, for supporting the fulfilment of AMISOM's mandate.
"It has not been easy, but you have diligently performed. Somalia was never going to be easy, but you were up to the task," Brig. Kabango noted.
Soldiers under the battlegroup were deployed in the areas of Barawe, Bulomarer, Golweyn and Beladamin, among others.
Present at the medal award ceremony were the AMISOM Deputy Force Commander in charge of Operations and Plans, Maj. Gen. Nakibus Lakara and the AMISOM Deputy Force Commander in charge of Support and Logistics, Maj. Gen. George Owinow.