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UPDF Appoints New UN Guard Unit Commander in Somalia :: Uganda Radionetwork
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UPDF Appoints New UN Guard Unit Commander in Somalia

Lt Col Odongo received the UN Flag today from the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Catriona Lian who praised the UPDF for the great work in ensuring the safety and security of the United Nations personnel, their property, key installations, manning all security checkpoints and ensuring that UN visitors and contractors are well managed.
Hand over of command at UNGU X headquarters in Somalia
The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has appointed Lt Col Emmanuel Odongo as the new commander of the United Nations Guard Unit X (UNGU X) in Somalia. He replaces  Lt Col Peter Omeja.

Lt Col Odongo received the UN Flag today from the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Catriona Lian who praised the UPDF for the great work in ensuring the safety and security of the United Nations personnel, their property, key installations, manning all security checkpoints and ensuring that UN visitors and contractors are well managed.

“I thank the outgoing Commander Lt Col Peter Omeja for working tirelessly to achieve the mandate and mission of the guard unit without incidences of any nature. I commiserate with both the Government of Uganda and UPDF for the loss of two members of the guard unit as a result of indirect fire from rocket shell and motor accident respectively,” Liang said according to a UPDF statement.

Liang has promised that m the Special Representative of the Secretary-General will continue supporting the guard unit at all times and urged the incoming commander to ensure he stayed safe in Somalia.

UPDF Contingent Commander Brig Gen Mbusi Lukwago represented the Commander Land Forces Lt Gen Kayanja Muhanga at the takeover ceremony where he too applauded Lt Col Omeja for the job well done.

Brig Gen Lukwago emphasized that due to the ATMIS drawdown, more gaps shall be created for the Al-Shabaab to take advantage of and therefore implored the new commanding officer to take extra care and vigilance to ensure that the mandate and mission are accomplished.

“Somalia's working environment remains complex due to the continuous existence of Al-Shabaab. You’re encouraged to work diplomatically but ensure that no stone is unturned to keep the safety and security of all UN personnel and their property,” Brig Gen Lukwago said.

Ugandan troops have been in Somalia since 2007 first serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and now under the African Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). The change in the name of the security operations in Somalia came after five UN Security Council permanent member states withdrew funding saying AMISOM forces had outlived their purpose.

As Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia and Kenya start reducing the number of their troops in Somalia, many have cast doubt on whether the government forces will be in a position to handle the national security. The biggest challenge to the establishment of strong security forces has been the huge number of trained Somalia National Army and Somalia Police reverting to Al-Shabaab terrorists.

Brig Lukwago also appealed for tactics that will ensure the safety of all key UN installations to serve their purpose for the stability of Somalia. Somalia’s defence attaché to UNGU X, Brig Gen Francis Chemo, explained that the work of UNGU in Somalia has rarely been disrupted because of the UPDF guard unit which has delivered to satisfaction.

"This is only achieved with a disciplined force. I therefore encourage the Incoming commander to ensure that the force is kept to the standards of the UN. I also encourage the outgoing force commander to make good use of the accrued benefits in remembrance of the sacrifices made during the pacification of Somalia,” Brig Gen Chemo said.

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