BY PPU REPORTER
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia has commended President Museveni, the Government and the people of Uganda for the unwavering support extended to the people of Somalia in fighting terrorism in their country.
“This is not the first time that Uganda has contributed to the peaceful establishment of the Somali State. Somalia is grateful and will ever remain indebted for the sacrifices that the government and the people of Uganda under the leadership of His Excellency President Museveni has done to Somalia at very difficult times,” he said.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud made the remarks this evening at the passing out of 2,900 trainees for the Somali National Army who have successfully concluded their 4-month special Basic Military Training at the Special Mission Training Centre in Butiaba –Bulisa district.
The visiting Somali leader was accompanied by his host President Museveni and his daughter, Ms. Janah Hassan Sheikh. In attendance too was the Minister of Defense of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Mr. Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur.
The two heads of state witnessed military demonstrations at the range grounds conducted by the Somali graduands that included among others very impressive and spectacular marksmanship in range firing, patrols, check points hose clearing and VIP protection-suicide attacks.
The President of Somalia who earlier administered the Oath of Allegiance to the graduands described the pass out occasion of the Somali trainees as the singing of the history of partnership between Somalia and Uganda in defeating terrorism in Africa and in particular the Eastern horn of Africa.
He noted that it has been a decade and a half since the first contingent of UPDF stepped in Somalia. The gallant soldiers of Uganda proved wrong those who thought the Ugandan army would fail in its mission in Somalia adding that it was this bold step that bore the seeds that other African countries followed.
“At that time there was a lot of uncertainty, very insecure, a very doubtful future where many people were publicly saying that the Ugandans will fail in Somalia.
This has been proven wrong. The Ugandan contingent landed in Somalia and has been the seeds of many other African countries who also followed the footsteps of Uganda at a very difficult and uncertain times in the past,” he said.
He added that the heroes of Uganda will always remain grateful and in the hearts of the people of Somalia for helping them not only to defend their country but also to prepare them to take over the sovereign responsibility of its own security.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was optimistic that the rolling out of well-trained forces in Uganda will certainly change the environment of Somalia and also in the operational theatres where the war against terrorism is being conducted.
“Today is another milestone where the almost 3,000 graduands from a very effective and efficient training that we have been shown today.
I believe that this will definitely change the environment of Somalia and in the operational theatres of the war going on in Somalia right now. It is the people of Somalia who are fighting today. It is the people of Somalia who say no to terrorists.
The terrorists are on the run they have no place to hide, and they are remaining in the pockets where there is natural defense like forests and certain mountainous areas. We keep on continuing pushing.
The Somali leader disclosed that in the last 6 months large sways of land has been redeemed from the terrorists and the government is now providing people in liberated areas with the services they had been denied for the last one and a half decades like absence of schools, medical facilities and other basic necessities.
He said the Somali government is now embarking on the second phase of the struggle after almost concluding the first one and expressed his gratitude to the troop contributing countries of African Mission in Somalia as well as the front-line States bordering Somalia for their support.
He concluded by immensely thanking the people of Uganda for their unwavering support and hoped that this gesture will continue and the people of the 2 countries will soon have another day where they will celebrate Somalia without fear of terrorists.
“I would like to say through His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni to the people of Uganda that I thank you very much” he said.
President Museveni on his part thanked President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud for his kind remarks and appreciation for Uganda’s modest contribution to the resistance in Somalia.
The President was very glad to hear from his Guest that the war in Somalia is now taken up by the people themselves and their army.
He noted that if the people of Africa had to internalize that concept instead of behaving like the colonial armies that fronted money first, everything would be easy .
He thanked President Hassan for the move noting that even some of the trainees came all the way from other cities in the world to acquire skills to defend their country.
He said the training received by the Somali trainees was at tactical level and was the medicine for the terrorists.
“I am very glad to hear what the president said that it is no longer a war of the government but a peoples’ war. That is how we managed to fight here, “he said.
The Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs Hon. Vincent Ssempija thanked President Museveni, the United Arab Emirate as well as the Global Security Services for their support. He thanked the Somali government for entrusting them with the task of training its army.
Other speakers included the Chief of Defense Forces, Gen. Wilson Mbadi and the overseer of the training Centre Brig. Gen. Fred Twinamatsiko.
Present were the Minister of State for Defense, Hon Oboth-Oboth and other Senior Government and Security Officials.