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UPDF surrenders state house protection to Somalia security forces

(Last Updated On: 18 December 2023)

 

Mogadishu |The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) serving under the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) has handed over Villa Somalia (State House) and Parliament security responsibilities to Somalia Security Forces. 

The grand ceremony took place at Villa Somalia in the presence of United Nations representatives and officials from the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and ATMIS.

The National Security Advisor to the President, Hussein Sheikh Ali Maalim welcomed the dignitaries, noting that the handover of the two vital installations is a significant milestone not only to the Federal government of Somalia but also to the people of Somalia.

He elaborated that the government is sending a big message to the public that it is capable of taking charge of Somalia’s security and people are gaining confidence that they are being protected by their government.

Also read: ATMIS: Uganda sends 12 Police officers to Somalia as 14 returns

“This is a historical day, the takeover of these vital installations is a testimony by the government to the public who are now seeing Somalia government as being serious in protecting their own. It is a milestone not because AMISOM is leaving but because it shows the government is serious about protecting its citizens,” noted Hussein Maalim.

The Chief of Staff in the Office of the President, Abdihakim Mohamed Yusuf, in tandem, reminisced about the sacrifice of the brothers and sisters of all Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) who have helped in rebuilding Somalia.

He acknowledged that Somalia is fighting the most sophisticated terror group in the world, the Al-Shabaab.

“The fact that we are taking over security responsibility of these vital installations, shows that we are defeating them. We are now fighting Al-Shabaab 500 to 800 kilometres away from Mogadishu. We shall forever remain grateful for your sacrifice.

“Our cooperation and partnership will not end here but this is the beginning. Thank you TCCs particularly Ugandan forces who have been here for the last 16 years. We share this bond and we will remain grateful,” remarked Abdihakim.

The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and Head of ATMIS, Mohamed Al-Amine Seouf, noted that the handover of State House and Parliament security was a significant step in the resumption of ATMIS drawdown of phase two.

Seouf stated that the handover of the two state institutions was previously central at ATMIS mandate which now becomes a critical move in the transition process.

“We are now fulfilling the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2710 (2023) mandated to reduce troop presence of 3000 by December 2023, adding that this will contribute to the ongoing Somalia Security transition plan,” he added.

The Sector One commander, Brig Gen Peter Gaetano Omola, informed guests that the sector is greatly honoured and privileged to hand over the most vital installations which they have fervently been protecting for the last 16 years.

He enumerated UPDF’s successful operations right from March 2007, which include: dislodging Al-Shabaab in various locations protecting vital installations, and providing VVIP protection, among others.

“We have diligently and proudly offered VVIPs security protection to five Presidents, entire state house staff and to some extent the presidents of the Federal Member States,” said Brig Gen Omola.

He reported that Somalia Security Forces (SSF) is effectively manning the FOBs that were handed over in the phase one ATMIS drawdown.

This is a testimony to the continued confidence that the SSF will be in a position to take over security responsibility of their country, he noted.

He thanked the Somali community for the hospitality and cooperation exhibited through the years that has enabled the forces to perform.

 

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