The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has boasted of securing Somalia airspace which had been hampered by Al-Shabaab attacks on airports.

Brig Gen Anthony Mbuusi Lukwago, the commander of UPDF’s sector one in Somalia, said if it wasn’t for Uganda’s military’s resilience, Somalia’s air transport wouldn’t be flourishing like it is today.

Brig Gen Lukwago said UPDF has achieved a lot in Somalia and one of the major achievements is the establishment of a conducive atmosphere for the political processes while ensuring the functionality of the government of Mogadishu.

“The annual increase volume of Airport operations presently accommodates over 8,533 international flights, 18,166 domestic flights, and 1,686 mission flights, the improvement in infrastructure and social services are a result of our persistent provision of security,” Brig Gen Lukwago said.

Brig Gen Lukwago was briefing the Minister for Defence and Veteran Affairs, Vincent Ssempijja who is on a familiarization visit to UPDF forces in Somalia. Ssempijja applauded UPDF soldiers who are currently serving as part of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) for creating a conducive environment for Somalia’s socio-economic and political transformation while exhibiting the Pan-African spirit.

The Pan-African spirit that brought us to Somalia has yielded tremendous results. Thank you for persevering and changing the face of Somalia. The discipline and professionalism you have shown have earned UPDF International accolades,” Ssempijja said.

UPDF went to Somalia in 2007 under Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) which was being funded by the UN’s Security Council. However, two years ago, UN Security Council member countries that include the US, China, France, Germany, and the UK said UPDF and AMISOM forces had outlived their purpose in Somalia. Nevertheless, AMISOM was changed to ATMIS to stay for more years in the guise of training Somali forces to take charge of their country’s security.

Ssempijja was at UPDF’s Sector One where he too acknowledged the rapid growth of Mogadishu City, Seaport, and Aden Abdulle International Airport traffic as evidence of the UPDF’s hard work and professionalism.

Ssempijja has also commended President Yoweri Museveni, who is also Commander-in-Chief, for his vision and strategic leadership in the fight against the Al-Shabaab at the source (Somalia), which has helped protect Uganda from attacks.


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