Kampala. The UPDF has appointed Brig Sam Kavuma as the new contingent commander to the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), replacing Brig Dick Olum.
Brig Kavuma has been the commander of the African Union Regional Task Force in Central African Republic that is hunting for Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony. His new assignment in Somalia starts with a reinforcement of 2,754 fresh troops.
“Brig Sam Kavuma is an experienced commander and we are confident he will appropriately represent our country in Somalia,” the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Katumba Wamala, said.
The troops under Uganda Battle Group XIV is the 17th battle group Uganda is fielding to Somalia since 2007 and are replacing Battle group XII which has been under Amisom for a year and recently captured the last al-Shabaab stronghold of Barawe.
UPDF spokesperson Paddy Ankunda in a statement said the first flight carrying more than 100 soldiers landed safely at Mogadishu International Airport Monday morning and brought back an equal number to Entebbe Airport.
While flagging off the new battle group, commanded by Col Frank Kyambadde, Gen Katumba cautioned the commanders against fraud.
“Make sure you use the logistics provided for the intended use. If the food is in excess, just give it to the soldiers….they know what to do with it,” Gen Wamala said, adding: “I don’t want to hear any cases of selling, not even one litre of fuel, the logistics are free but please don’t get tempted because you will not like the consequences.”
He was speaking at Singo Support Operations Training School in Nakaseke District on Monday.
“Wherever UPDF has gone, it has made a good account of itself and we shall not take any less of that. For a good job done in Somalia, there was sweat and blood. The best reward for our comrades who lost their lives or got wounded in this mission is for us to ensure we don’t betray the cause for which they sacrificed their dear lives,” Gen Wamala said.
Meanwhile, the troops of Battle group XII who are returning home were decorated with African Union medals and flagged off on Monday from Mogadishu by Maj Gen Geoffrey Muheesi, the deputy Amisom force commander in charge of operations. He thanked them for their contribution in the stabilisation of Somalia and congratulated them upon a successful completion of their tour of duty in Somalia.