The Minister of State for Defence Hon. Jacob Oboth-Oboth has today met the Assistant Secretary-General and Head of United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), H.E Aisa Kirabo Kacyira at the Ministry of Defence Headquarters, Mbuya.
During the meeting, Hon. Oboth and H.E Kacyira discussed the roles of African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) and UNSOS in supporting a phased ATMIS drawdown plan and eventual full handover of security responsibility to the Somalia National Security Forces (SNSF) by Dec 2024.
Uganda is a Troop Contributing Country (TCC) to ATMIS and Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) also forms the United Nations Guard Unit (UNGU) which protects the United Nations (UN) Compound in Mogadishu, Somalia while UNSOS is a United Nations’ office in Somalia that provides logistical support to ATMIS.
Hon. Oboth-Oboth echoed the Government of Uganda’s appreciation to UNSOS for the logistical support extended to ATMIS formerly African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) since 2012.
“Uganda as a Troop Contributing Country, we take your office very seriously. We would like to let you know that we are available, ready and we want to assure you of our cooperation with your office at all times,” Hon. Oboth remarked.
Hon. Oboth applauded the UPDF for the sacrifice and commitment to serve in Somalia. “They mean well. They see the whole of Africa with one sight. That is the motivation of the UPDF as a Pan-Africanist Army. What touches an African country or anywhere in the world, touches us,” he said.
H.E Kacyira thanked Uganda and H.E President Museveni for hosting the Heads of State Summit of the Troop Contributing Countries to the ATMIS that was concluded yesterday 27th April, 2023 at Entebbe State House.
The Assistant Secretary-General underscored UNSOS’ ability to do its work in Somalia is due to the security provided by the Somali National Security Forces, ATMIS and UNGU.
She expressed commitment towards having the phased drawdown plan of ATMIS troops is done as seamlessly and effectively as possible. “As the numbers of ATMIS troops go down, it is important to have the right enablers and multipliers but also empower the Somali National Security forces,” she emphasized
The Deputy Chief of Defence Forces, Lt Gen Peter Elwelu in his remarks stated that without UNSOS in Somalia, AMISOM/ATMIS would not have been a possibility.
“When UNSOS came to Mogadishu, everything changed. We value the role of UNSOS. As African Union and TCCs to ATMIS, we can have soldiers but it’s about how you support them. Without you we would not have achieved what we have achieved so far,” Gen Elwelu noted.
Others in attendance at the meeting were; the UPDF Joint Chief of Staff, Major General Leopold Kyanda, Mr. Leopoldo Co, the UNSOS Chief, Service Delivery Management Pillar, and Mr. Albert Theo Fiawosime, Head, External Relations and Coordination Section.