Somali Authorities Appeal for Continued UPDF Support

During a meeting at the Uganda Battle Group 37 Headquarters in Celjaale, Somalia, Brigadier General Felix Kulayigye, the Defence Spokesperson, praised the enduring support and positive relationship between the Somali people and the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) serving in Somalia under the African Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).

Brig Gen Kulayigye, in discussions with Somali local authorities, emphasized the interdependence between UPDF and Somalis. He stated, “Without you, we cannot exist. We came to support you to solve your problems, and you have the solution. Once the problem is resolved, we shall go back to our country.”

Chief of Celjaale, Yusuf Osman Ali, acknowledged the sacrifice and perseverance of ATMIS forces, attributing their efforts to the ability of Somalis to conduct business freely without disruptions from Al-Shabaab. However, he expressed concern about the potential withdrawal of ATMIS forces, stating, “We are not happy with ATMIS withdrawal. We still need you.”

Mr. Bujeet Haji Isse directly appealed to the Defence Spokesperson, urging him to convey a message to President Yoweri Museveni. Isse emphasized, “Tell him we don’t want ATMIS to withdraw. Ugandan soldiers have helped us live peacefully and in harmony. Please continue with your work.”

Col Charles Asiimwe Kibaate, the Battle Group 37 Commander, highlighted the collaborative efforts between UPDF and local authorities, stating, “The wanainchi [citizens] are appreciative. We involve them in every activity we do. They have detached themselves from Al-Shabaab activities.”

Brig Gen Felix Kulayigye, accompanied by journalists, is in Somalia to assess the achievements and challenges faced by ATMIS forces. The team has visited Barawe and Ceeljale in Sector One under UPDF, interacting with Somali local authorities and conducting interviews with Brig Gen Peter Gaetano Omola, the contingent commander, and Ambassador Mohamed El-Amine Souef, the ATMIS Head and Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

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