Ugandan troops serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have carried out a community sanitation exercise and administered COVID-19 booster jabs to local communities as part of a series of activities to commemorate their Armed Forces Day.
The day, also known as ‘Tarehe Sita,’ is marked every 6th of February to remember the day the National Resistance Army (NRA), led by Yoweri Museveni, launched an armed struggle to end misrule in Uganda.
On Sunday, the Ugandan AMISOM contingent celebrated the 41st ‘Tarehe Sita’ anniversary under the theme, “Retracing the People’s Struggle for Peace and Security for a Modern Uganda.”
In Mogadishu, the Ugandan AMISOM contingent administered the COVID-19 booster shots to communities residing near the AMISOM basecamp, and also cleaned up the local Marine Market. In Marka and Janaale, the troops carried out a similar clean-up exercise to mark the day.
The exercise in Mogadishu was led by the Uganda AMISOM contingent commander, Brigadier General Keith Katungi who said such community service events are important for building civil-military relations which in turn helps to advance the Mission’s mandate.
We can never thank AMISOM enough for bringing us the COVID-19 vaccines free of charge and also helping to clean the market for us
“Prior to the 6th of February, we spent a whole week conducting activities that impact on people, and that’s why yesterday we cleaned the ocean shoreline, and today we are in Marine Market cleaning. In the Forward Operating Bases, we are also doing the same,” Brig. Gen. Katungi explained.
Brig. Gen. Katungi noted that being able to celebrate Tarehe Sita in Somalia, together with the local community, is of historic significance, given that Somalia has a lot in common with Uganda.
“You can never liberate people unless you involve them. Unless our operations are all aligned to the people’s needs, the people’s struggles and the people’s need to liberate themselves, then you will be disconnected from their mindset,” Brig. Gen. Katungi further explained.
The contingent commander also held a meeting with members of the local business community and briefed them on the AMISOM mission mandate, among others.
The civilians thanked AMISOM for the cordial relations, saying the COVID-19 booster shots would help safeguard them from the pandemic as they go about their daily activities in the market.
“I thank AMISOM Sector 1 for availing us of the COVID-19 booster dose, having given us the two previous COVID-19 doses. I am hopeful the vaccines will help boost our health as well as that of the marine business community, which will improve our business,” said Mohamed Dahir, the Vice-Chairperson of Marine Market.
Amina Mohamed Alasow, a resident near Marine Market, hailed the good relations that exist between the local community and AMISOM troops.
“We can never thank AMISOM enough for bringing us the COVID-19 vaccines free of charge and also helping to clean the market for us. Their support will go a long way to improve health and sanitation within the market,” said Amina.