The Ugandan contingent serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has deployed a new battle group to support ongoing peace and security operations in the country.
The newly deployed troops under Battle Group XXI, replaces Battle Group XVIII which has completed the mandatory one-year tour of duty.
The group arrived in Mogadishu Saturday morning and will secure key installations in Somalia which include the Mogadishu Sea Port, the Federal Parliament, Presidential Palace, Mogadishu Airport, and the AMISOM Base camp in Halane.
The new battle group will also occupy and secure AMISOM forward bases in the liberated areas of Leego, Arbiska, Afgoye as well as Jazeera, all located in the Lower Shabelle region.
Uganda is one of the Troop and Police Contributing Countries (T/PCCs) in AMISOM, with over 6,000 officers serving alongside other troops from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.
Col. Chris Ogwal, the new Battle Group XXI Commander previously served in Somalia between 2012 and 2013 as an operations officer and is familiar with the conflict landscape of Somalia.
Col. Ogwal said, “I have come to build on what my colleagues have done. What I actually expect is good cooperation from the forces in the field. We are going to join hands with them. And from the advice that I will get from the outgoing commander, I will see what’s good to do so that we build on that.”
Outgoing Battle Group XVIII Commander, Col. Ronald Bigirwa, encouraged the incoming troops to maintain discipline, teamwork in order to accomplish the mission in Somalia.
“Being AMISOM soldiers, discipline is mandatory. It’s where we achieve from and earn results. AMISOM has been here for 10 years and discipline has been at the forefront in earning results. They should be vigilant since Al-Shabaab is very elusive. It attacks from anywhere, anytime,” said. Col. Bigirwa.
He noted the achievements of his outgoing battle group which included securing the recently concluded general elections as well as the IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) Heads of State Summit that was held in Somalia for the first time in more than three decades.
The outgoing battle group also carried out military offensives against Al-Shabaab and secured the main supply routes from Mogadishu to Barawe as well as Mogadishu to Baidoa to facilitate delivery of humanitarian aid to drought-affected communities and provide security to civilian populations.