A total of 625 UPDF troops, serving as United Nations Guard Unit (UNGU IX) have today been flagged off to enforce peace under the mandate of the African Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).
This follows a 7- month mission training at the Peace Support Operations Training Centre (PSO-TC) in Singo, Nakaseke district.
UNGU IX mainly protects key UN installations in Somalia.
Presiding over the flag-off ceremony, the Deputy Commander Land Force Maj Gen Francis Takirwa, congratulated the mission group for getting the opportunity to pacify another part of Africa. “This is a great day in your lives to participate in such training to ensure all parts of Africa are at peace and also forestall potential dangerous ‘spillovers’ to our country,” Maj Gen Takirwa said.
He reminded the mission group that without peace, countries cannot do much. “Go and be part of the force that will always be remembered for having contributed to the return of peace in Somalia. You are going to provide peace and security for our brothers and sisters in Somalia but not to improve your income status,” Maj Gen Takirwa warned.
He called for discipline, patience, commitment, health preservation and respect for the host culture, among others; for the success of the mission.
He then wished UNGU IX a successful tour of duty and declared it ready for mission deployment.
On his part, the Commandant PSO-TC Brig Gen Max Gumisiriza noted that the training centre has so far trained IX guard units and the current 625 UNGU IX mission soldiers will be deployed in Somalia to provide perimeter security, access control to UN facilities and installation, conduct extraction and reinforcement operation for UN personnel under imminent threat, among others.
The United Nations Training Guard Unit is designed to impart military knowledge, skills and tactical expertise to develop and maintain readiness in the mission area.
He was grateful to the UNGU IX Commander Lt Col Peter Omeja for ably leading a committed and cooperative team.
The commandant also praised stakeholders like UK and US Partners, coordinators and instructors for making the training a success.
The training packages included: skills at arms, physical fitness, and motor drills. Others are the provision of knowledge on how the UN functions and more especially the Security Council and its mandate.
Brig Gumisiriza thanked UPDF’s strategic leadership for supporting and facilitating the training of UNGU IX.
The ceremony was also attended by UPDF senior and junior officers, representatives of the US and UK support trainers and members of the local civic leadership.