1000 Somali soldiers trained by the officers from the Uganda Peoples Defences Forces (UPDF) and senior military officers from 27 European Union countries are have been passed out today at Bihanga military training school in Western Uganda.
The soldiers expected to provide the core of officers and men of a new Somali army are expected to provide the much needed boost to the fragile Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Mogadishu.
The TFG which is facing ever increasing attacks from a viscious Al-Shabaab attack is being kept in place by some 7500 African Union peacekeeping (Amisom) force. Uganda contributes about 5000 of the peacekeepers.
Chief guest at the pass out was newly appointed Somali Deputy Prime Minister who also doubles as minister of Defence Abdul hakim Mohammed Faqi. He is accompanied by the Ambassador. Sayid Dalur, Amb Mul Katende, Gen Ahmed Mohammed Abdulahi and Gen. Mohammed Sheikh.
Also present are Uganda’s Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga, Land Forces Commander Gen Katumba Wamala, Army spokesperson Lt. Col Felix Kulayigye, Amb. Vincent De Visccher, head of the European Union in Uganda as well as top diplomats from a host of other European capitals.
This is the first group of officers and foot soldiers to be passed out from Bihanga Training School. This facility was set up early this year to train TGF Officers and foot soldiers in a bid to boost the military capability of war tone Somalia which has been at war for the last 21 years.