What you need to know:
- Gen Michael Langley, the commander of the US Africa Command, met Gen Okiding and other senior military officers and discussed “areas of mutual collaboration”.
Top United States army generals for the US Africa Command have met the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) commander, Lt Gen Sam Okiding, weeks after al-Shabaab attacked Uganda’s forward operating base and killed 54 soldiers.
On Wednesday, Gen Michael Langley, the commander of the US Africa Command, met Gen Okiding and other senior military officers and discussed “areas of mutual collaboration”.
Two days later, another team of US army generals led by Lt Gen Jonathan Braga, the commander of the US Army Special Operations Command and Rear Admiral Jamie Sands, the US Navy commander of Special Operations Command Africa, visited Lt Gen Okiding and his team in what the US generals described as United States’ commitment to the partnership with ATMIS and support for Somalia in the fight against al-Shabaab.
“The US is one of our international partners. They have also injected a lot of resources into this mission and we have discussed salient issues,” Lt Gen Okiding said in a statement released by ATMIS on Saturday.
“We are in the transition process, so as ATMIS exits [end of next year], we should be proud of our brothers and sisters who remain behind to take charge of their country’s security. That is our hope...”
The back-to-back meeting came weeks after Mr Museveni accused the US army, which operates armed drones in Somalia for not responding during the attack on the Ugandan military base leading to al-Shabaab insurgents overrunning it and making off with weapons.
President Museveni said he was told by UPDF commanders attached to ATMIS that they sought aerial support from Turkey and US, but they never got it. He said Uganda would have to procure its own drones if it can’t get support from its partners.
According to the ATMIS statement, US Rear Admiral Jamie Sands said, “the meeting was an opportunity to reaffirm the US commitment to the partnership with ATMIS”.