Uganda rotates ATMIS deployment

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Uganda marked 15 years of peacekeeping deployments in Somalia with a rotation when Uganda battle group (UBG) 37 this month (December) replaced UBG 34 in the African Union (AU) Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).

The east African country was the first to send troops to its trouble-torn east African neighbour and remains the largest troop contributing country (TCC) to the mission originally known as AMISOM (AU Mission in Somalia). The mission, according to a Uganda Peoples’ Defence Force (UPDF) statement evolved under “several” United Nations (UN) resolutions, the most recent being UNSC resolution 2628 of 2022 which spells out gradual transferred of security responsibilities to the Somali National Security Forces (SNSF) by 2024.

The latest UPDF rotation will, as was its predecessor, be responsible for manning 27 forward operating bases (FOBs) across a 240km front in the Banadir and Lower Shabelle regions. It is commanded by Colonel Charles Asiimwe and will be headquartered in Ceel Jaale town.

While in Somalia, UBG 34 conducted operations against Al-Shabaab, detonated improvised explosive devices, promoted civil/military co-operation and mentored the SNSF.

Ugandan troops serve alongside Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenyan soldiers in ATMIS which, in November, reported a troop strength of 18 586, two thousand more than deployed under the UN flag in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the world body’s single largest mission at present.