(L-R) Col Ruheesi, Mr Bellingham and an instructor at Singo Military Training School yesterday. COURTESY PHOTO
Thursday, March 29, 2012
A team of 27 British soldiers arrived in Uganda on Sunday to
train UPDF soldiers soon to be deployed in Somalia in cordon and search
operations, patrolling and civil-military relations.
The team will train Ugandans for two weeks before
their deployment to fight al-Shabaab militants in the second phase of
the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).
The visiting UK Minister for Africa, Mr Henry
Bellingham, yesterday announced an extra Shs915 million funding for
training of Ugandan peacekeepers. The UK has previously been
contributing Shs1.5 billion.
“This is a good opportunity to pacify Somalia
because the al-Shabaab have been chased out of Mogadishu. This was a
sacrifice worthwhile. Achievements made on the military front should be
compatible with the political side,” he said.
Mr Bellingham was meeting British soldiers and
senior UPDF officers at Singo Military Training School in Nakaseke
District where the peacekeepers are undergoing training.
The money will be used to expand training facilities at the school.
Bellingham said the UK funding to Amisom has been increased by 15
million Pounds following the UN resolution that called for increased
funding and expansion of AU troops from 12,000 to 17,731.
The commandant of Singo Military Training School,
Col. James Barigye Ruheesi, said the facility has so far trained 20,000
UPDF soldier who have served in Somalia since 2007.
Ugandans and Burundians have been supporting the
beleaguered Transitional Federal Government of Somalia before they were
later joined by Kenyan and Djiboutian forces late last year.
American and the French troops are also training UPDF soldiers.