The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) Battle Group XXXIX received a resounding call to action – to defend and preserve peace in Somalia. The Deputy Commander Land Force, Major General Francis Takirwa, emphasized the importance of their mission, urging them to apply their hard-earned skills effectively and remain prepared to confront any threats.
A significant contingent of 1,850 UPDF troops is being deployed to fulfill the mandate of the African Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). This deployment follows eight months of intensive pre-mission training at the Peace Support Operations Training Centre (PSO-TC) in Singo, Nakeseke District.
Major General Francis Takirwa, presiding over the flag-off ceremony, congratulated Battle Group XXXIX for the opportunity to contribute to peace and stability in another part of Africa. He provided valuable advice, cautioning both officers and soldiers to exercise responsibility, refrain from risky behavior, and ensure they return as they departed – safe and sound.
Major General Takirwa’s warning against the dangers of HIV/AIDS underlined the importance of personal discipline and responsibility, reminding the troops of the consequences of indiscretion.
Wishing them a safe and successful tour of duty in Somalia, Major General Takirwa extended his heartfelt prayers for their secure return. His words resonated with the significance of the mission and the shared hope for a peaceful Somalia.
The flag-off ceremony also featured the Commandant of PSO-TC, Brigadier General Max Gumisiriza, who expressed his gratitude towards Battle Group XXXIX for their unwavering discipline during training. He praised the instructors for their dedication, accessibility, and hard work, which contributed to the troops’ readiness for their mission.
Brigadier General Gumisiriza went on to stress the importance of maintaining discipline and loyalty, among other virtues, while operating in the mission area. These qualities are fundamental in achieving the mission’s goals and ensuring the safety of the troops involved.
The ceremony was attended by various distinguished individuals, including the commander of Battle Group XXXIX, Colonel TD Mawa, the commander of Battle Group 40, Colonel Topher Magino, Brian Lionberger, Senior Mentor from the USA, and Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Kalala, W/Commandant, among others.