Uganda is to provide a team to guard UN operation bases in Somalia. The force, which will be called United Nations Guard Unit (UNGU), is expected to deploy at the end of March and will source 410 soldiers from the UPDF. They will then operate under a special mandate, guarding the various UN operation bases around Somalia.
Maj Gen Silver M Kayemba, the defence advisor for Uganda’s permanent mission to the United Nations, led a team of army officials for a reconnaissance visit and shed light on the formation of the special unit.
“The decision was reached in New York that UN operation bases in Somalia should have their own guard unit. This is a new mandate,” he said.
Until this development, security for UN entities in the war-torn country has been provided by AMISOM forces that have been stationed in the country since 2007 and have so far reached 22,000 soldiers contributed from six countries. UPDF has 7,000 soldiers on the ground, making Uganda the country with the largest contingent in Somalia.
The contingent commander for the Ugandan forces under AMISOM, Brig Dick Prit Olum, called the new forces a big plus to AMISOM operations in the war torn country.
Like other UN mandated units situated in various conflict zones, the Ugandan soldiers will still remain members of the country’s armed forces, the UPDF even if their operations will be under UN mandate.