MPs commend UPDF in Somalia
Kampala [Radio RBC] A Pan African Parliament (PAP) delegation has commended the Uganda People’sDefence Forces (UPDF) in its efforts to pacify the Great Lakes Region.
The delegation comprising Uganda’s Representatives Cecilia Ogwal (FDC Dokolo district) and Onyango Kakooba (NRM, Buikwe North) on Wednesday visited the Peace, Support Operations Training Centre, located in Singo, Nakasongola district.
Ogwal is the Vice Chairperson of the PAP Committee on Administration and Financial Evaluation (CAFÉ); while Onyango Kakooba is the Chairperson of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
The leader of the delegation Ogwal said during PAP sessions in the recently concluded PAP conference in South Africa, she raised issues regarding the failure by other African Union member countries to contribute troops to the mission in Somalia.
Ogwal added that she was lobbying the new PAP President, Bethel Amadi about other countries’ contributions since the mission to Somalia is an African union project.
“We must give credit to the UPDF, I am happy to learn that over 90percent of Mogadishu is safe; the situation would be better if we had more countries contributing to the mission,” said Ogwal, adding “We want every Somali to feel Somalia is their country and able to contribute to democracy.”
She also commended the discipline exhibited by the Uganda forces in Somalia which She appealed to the army leadership to involve more women, who she said, together with children suffer most in times of conflict.
Kakooba said the AU mission in Somalia will be used for learning purposes for future peace keeping missions on the continent.
“I have not heard of any human rights abuses, which usually happens in peace keeping missions. Uganda’s record has been very clean, this is what makes us proud at PAP,” he said.
School Commandant, Col. Stephen Kashure, said the Somali population had a problem with their Ethiopian neighbors but are positively receptive to the Ugandans.
Contingent Commander Brig. Michael Ondoga, who is going to replace the Commander in Somalia, said the UPDF has had a good relationship with the locals wherever they have been deployed.
“We are like guests, we like to be good guests and respect the hosts, “he said.
Over 2,000 troops, who have had a ten weeks training, are scheduled to leave for Somalia soon. The Soldiers have had training in leadership, individual soldier skills, team and squad collective tasks, international human rights and other areas. Uganda’s deployment ceiling stands at 6,363.
Burundi and Kenya have also deployed troops to the mission in Somalia.