More than 5,000 UPDF peace keepers serving under the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia have received refresher training on child protection, most especially in conflict areas.
The one - week training was organized by Uganda Peoples' Defence Forces (UPDF) Directorate of Human Rights in conjunction with Save the Children (SOS), a non-governmental organisation. The course benefitted officers and militants from different Forward Operation Bases (FOBs).
The Director of Human Rights in the UPDF and leader of the training team Col Deo Karikona visited troops as far as Barawe which is 209 Km South West of the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
This is among the furthest point where UPDF has deployed; the others being Ceel jaale, Arbiska, Seaport, and Base Camp -Mogadishu.
According to Karikona, the refresher training was aimed at re-equipping commanders and militants on the need to protect children, especially in military operational areas.
The training also bridged the gap between theory and practice in a military theatre.
"The available protocols and laws, both international and domestic, make child protection training in the military mandatory. We are currently going further, to have the same 'in- theatre," Col Karikona explained.
The deputy head of the training team, Ssozi Ssesanga who is also the Chief Instructor at the Singo - based Peace Support Operations Training Center (PSO - TC), in Nakaseke district, applauded the UPDF leadership for putting emphasis on the protection of children during military operations.
"UPDF has the highest number of personnel trained in child protection and human rights in Africa, and we can't take that for granted," he said.