Ugandan army officers carry the caskets bearing the bodies of Ugandan peacekeepers killed in Somalia, at Entebbe military airbase about 40 kilometers south of Kampala, Uganda, Aug. 2, 2017. A plane carrying the bodies of peacekeepers killed in Somalia touched down at Uganda's Entebbe International Airport on Wednesday. Twelve Ugandan peacekeepers were killed and nine others injured by Somali militant group Al-Shabaab on Sunday while on patrol. (Xinhua/Samuel Egadu)
MOGADISHU, April 18 (Xinhua) -- The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Tuesday lauded Ugandan soldiers for ensuring a safer and stable Somalia.
AMISOM Deputy Force Commander in charge of support and logistics Salvator Harushimana praised the troops who have completed their tour of duty for their diligence.
"During their stay, they performed their duties with dedication and a high level of professionalism," Harushimana said in a statement issued in Mogadishu. "They did not only represent Uganda well but also made the African Continent proud."
The soldiers are part of battle group 21 of the Uganda People's Defense Force who were tasked with securing Mogadishu and neighboring regions.
Harushimana said the battle group participated in many operations, ranging from conducting combat operations against al-Shabab to securing the Main Supply Routes, to conducting regular patrols and escorting vehicles carrying humanitarian relief aid.
Soldiers stand guard during the formal inauguration ceremony of the United Nations Guard Unit (UNGU), a defensive military enity mandated to protect UN staff and installations in Mogadishua, capital of Somalia, May 18, 2014. The UNGU is made up of 410 troops provided by the Uganda People's Defence Forces. The Guard Unit, led by a Ugandan Commander, falls under the responsibliity of the UN designated official in Somalia. (Xinhua/Faisal Isse)
Speaking at the function, Uganda's Deputy Ambassador to Somalia Nathan Mugisha called for more investment in social amenities critical for the survival of the populations to help supplement efforts being made by the military to stabilize the country.
Mugisha also noted that there is need to enhance governance, justice and rule of law and humanitarian support in liberated areas to enable residents lead a normal life.
He commended the Somali National Army for remaining resolute in the face of multiple challenges and urged the international community to aid the force in its efforts to secure the country.
AMISOM's Battle Group Commander Chris Ogwal appealed for more investment in quick impact projects, noting that the lack of basic health services presents the biggest challenge to improving living standards of the Somali population.