U.S. Supports Ugandan Forces in Somalia

The United States has again given non-lethal military aid to the Ugandan contingent of the African Union Peace-keeping Mission (Amisom) worth billions of shillings.

The construction equipment, according to a statement issued on December 31 last year by Maj Robert Kamara, the Uganda contingent public information officer, includes two bulldozers, four motor graders, four compact rollers and four front-end loaders. Others are two trailer tractors, two low-bed vehicles, four recovery trucks, two tele-handlers and an assortment of spare parts.

The war

UPDF has been fighting against the al-Shabaab since March 2007.

Somalia plunged into civil war in 1990s after clan-based armed opposition groups overthrew then President Siad Barre’s regime.

“These machines will help in rebuilding and maintenance of the main supply routes used by the AU [African Union] forces. This will enhance free movement and safe passage, hence facilitating humanitarian activities, governance and Somalia’s recovery process,” Uganda’s Contingent Commander in AMISOM, Brig Sam Okiding, who received the equipment on behalf of Uganda at African Union’s Halane camp in Mogadishu, Somalia, is quoted as having said.

He added: “The machinery donated is enough to establish a ‘mission enabling unit’ that could carry out various infrastructural projects in Somalia to enhance peace and security”.

The support follows an announcement by Washington last year of the donation to the UPDF of five Huey-II combat helicopters and spare parts, worth Shs265 billion, as force multipliers in the anti-al-Shabaab offensive.

The helicopters will be delivered later this year.

Washington provides key logistical and intelligence support to Amisom, and particularly the Ugandan military, which has helped bolster its capacity in ensuring regional peace and security.

As a key security ally, the US also provides parallel security capacity building support to Uganda through joint in-service training and scholarships to Ugandan military officers to study at prestigious US defence colleges and other institutions.

Applauded

The site coordinator at the Department of State, Mr James Watters, handed over the latest equipment on behalf of the US government.

He reiterated “US government’s continued support to AMISOM in the fight against terrorism and commended the good works of the African Union peacekeepers in support of the Federal Government of Somalia”, according to yesterday’s statement.

Somalia plunged into civil war in 1990s after clan-based armed opposition groups overthrew then President Siad Barre’s regime.

Mission. UPDF has been fighting against the al-Shabaab since March 2007. Equipment. The latest donation comprises two bulldozers, four motor graders, four compact rollers and four front-end loaders, among others.

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