The United Kingdom has donated heavy equipment worth 5.6 million pounds to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to help in clearing main supply routes.
The equipment which includes tractor trucks, bulldozers, backhoe and front end loaders and forklifts amongst others will be used in Sectors one (Mogadishu), two (Kismayo) and five (middle Shabelle) together with the Mission Enabling Unit based in Mogadishu, Amisom said on 1 July.
While handing over the equipment, on 30 June, the United Kingdom Ambassador to Somalia, David Concar, said his government was proud to be associated with AMISOM in its efforts to stabilize Somalia and help secure lasting peace and security.
“What we are doing today, transferring 5.6 million pounds worth of equipment is, we hope, going to make a real difference to the ability of AMISOM to clear roads, supply routes and to press ahead with stabilizing Somalia and working in partnership with Somalia’s own forces as they get stronger,” Concar said.
Concar thanked the peacekeeping force together with the troop contributing countries for the sacrifice they have made to ensure stability in Somalia.
“We thank you AMISOM for everything you have done and the troop contributing countries and above all the troops who are out there in these dangerous environments often paying for the stability and progress we have seen with the ultimate sacrifice,” the UK Ambassador added.
Receiving the 49 items of heavy equipment, AMISOM Force Commander, Lt Gen Jim Beesigye Owoyesigire, said it will come in handy in the current period when the force is determined to kick out Al-Shabaab from the key areas they still occupy.
“We thank the government of UK for supporting us with these force enablers,” Owoyesigire said.
Sector One Commander, Brigadier Paul Lokech, who received 14 of the machines donated, pledged to use the equipment wisely to make the transition process a success.
“We know with this equipment, we can improve our operations capability and also it will help us, jointly with the Somalis, meet the requirement of phase one of our transition,” Lokech said.
Besides sector one, 12 machines will be donated to Sector two, Sector five (12) and the Mission Enabling Unit (11).
Last year, the UN Security Council approved the gradual reduction of AMISOM troops and transfer of security responsibilities to Somali national security forces.
A number of countries have donated equipment to support AMISOM, including armoured vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – for instance, in February it emerged that the United States had donated Aeronautics Defence Systems Aerostar UAVs to AMISOM for intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance duties.
The United States has provided other support to AMISOM and its contributing countries, such as Acmat Bastion armoured vehicles to Uganda. In September last year 19 vehicles were donated to Amisom’s Ugandan contingent. The Ugandan contingent remains the largest with over 6 000 troops. In June this year the US handed over 30 Mercedes Benz trucks, six boom lifts, a rough terrain container handler, three Oshkosh FMTV armoured trucks, a Caterpillar D7R2 bulldozer, ten generators and spares to Uganda.
In September 2015 the United States ordered Bastions for five African nations with 32 vehicles destined for Somalia, 17 to Uganda and 13 to AMISOM’s Somali contingent. Tunisia was to receive four, Cameroon 15 and Ethiopia 12.