UBC Online

Defence Committee MPs visit UPDF Troops In Somalia.

Members of Parliament on the parliamentary committee on Defence and Internal Affairs have visited Ugandan troops in Somalia.

The MPs led by the State Minister for Defence, Col.Charles Engola interacted with UPDF soldiers at the Forward Operating Base(FOB) at Arbiska, which is located 25 kilometres Northeast of Mogadishu city, the Somalia capital.

The delegation was shown a demonstration on how the troops counter Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), with the UPDF contingent commander, Brig.Michael Kabango informing the committee that Al Shabaab uses IEDs as their weapon of choice.

“Since 2011 when Alshabaab lost most of its fighters due to fighting UPDF face to face, they resorted to IEDs because of cheap materials and only a triggerman is required to blow the explosive,” Gen.Kabango told the legislators on the parliamentary Defence Committee.

Col.Charles Engola talks to the troops.

The State Minister for Defence informed the troops that the committee is in Somalia to have an on-spot assessment as part of their oversight role.

While in Arbiska, the delegation also met with the local leaders who gave testimonies on peace brought about by AMISOM, to which the UPDF is part, since the capture of Afgoye.

The visiting delegation later toured Mogadishu level 2 Hospital where the UPDF medical team led by Capt. Dr Hawa Katusiime briefed them on a range of medical services it offers to the troops and the community in Mogadishu.

The Parliamentary team is headed by the committee’s chairperson, Doreen Amule.

Uganda was the first African country to deploy troops under the African Union Mission in Somalia in 2007 and is currently the largest troop contributor with over 80% of the troops coming from Uganda.

The Ugandan troops also control the largest area in Somalia after being deployed in Sector One in Benadir,(has 16 districts) Banadir, and Lower Shabelle regions having pushed Al Shabaab militants for over 200km away from Mogadishu city.

The UPDF turned around the mission which was termed dead on arrival to break Al Shabaab fighters who controlled the largest part of the city and the cost where they levied taxes from locals to finance their activities.

Since 2011 when they were forced out of Mogadishu, the Somalia capital has seen development.

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