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AU Bids Farewell to Lt. Gen Okiding :: Uganda Radionetwork
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AU Bids Farewell to Lt. Gen Okiding

Lt Gen Okiding was appointed as the top commander of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) by President Yoweri Museveni in November 2022, formally assuming command in May 2023, replacing his Burundian counterpart.
Lt Gen Sam Okiding in a group picture before leaving Somalia
Sivuyile Bam, the Deputy Special Representative of the African Union (AU) Chairman in Somalia, has urged Lt Gen Sam Okiding not to abandon Somalia as he transitions to his new role as the Deputy Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) of the Ugandan military.   

Lt Gen Okiding was appointed as the top commander of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) by President Yoweri Museveni in November 2022, formally assuming command in May 2023, replacing his Burundian counterpart. However, recently, President Museveni appointed Lt Gen Okiding to serve as the deputy to Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, who holds the position of Uganda’s overall military commander.   

During a farewell ceremony in Mogadishu, Bam commended Lt Gen Okiding for his exemplary leadership of ATMIS forces, crediting him with steering the mission towards success during his tenure. Bam expressed regret at the loss of Lt Gen Okiding to the Ugandan military, stating that Uganda has benefited at the expense of ATMIS. 

"Uganda has gained from our loss. As you return to Kampala, we look forward to working with you wherever you are. And we promise that we will continue with your legacy and do the work that is expected of us," Bam remarked. With Lt Gen Sam Kavuma appointed by Museveni to replace Lt Gen Okiding, Lt Gen Okiding has handed over interim command to Maj Gen Marius Ngendabanka until the arrival of Lt Gen Kavuma in Somalia.   

Maj Gen Ngendabanka praised Lt Gen Okiding for his leadership of the ATMIS military component, particularly his ability to implement the mission’s mandate even amidst troop reductions and the transfer of security responsibilities to Somali Security Forces. 

“He promoted teamwork among Staff Officers at the ATMIS Force Headquarters and across all sectors,” Maj Gen Ngendabanka said.   In response, Lt Gen Okiding expressed confidence in the ATMIS military's capability to continue fulfilling the mission's mandate during the transition phase. He pledged ongoing support to ATMIS even in his new role as Uganda’s Deputy Chief of Defence Forces.   

"My voice will now be heard about Somalia operations. We will fight for this operation, especially in the area of force enablers where we are still lagging. And as we continue to draw down, and the force shrinks, we need alternatives. So, I think I will be in a better position to advocate for our operations," Lt Gen Okiding asserted. 

During his tenure, Lt Gen Okiding oversaw the successful handover of 13 Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) and the transfer of security responsibilities to Somali Security Forces in the first and second phases of the ATMIS drawdown completed in June and December 2023.3.

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