MOGADISHU (HAN) September 16.2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News. By Fredric Musisi. President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday took time off and visited Ugandan troops at the Halane military camp in Somalia, the largest African Union military base located in the capital Mogadishu, where he also spent the night meeting the UPDF military commanders amid tight security.
The president was in Mogadishu to attend the 28th Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) plus extraordinary summit of heads of state hosted by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud.
Somalia is one of the eight members of the regional bloc (Igad) with Uganda, Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan and Eritrea, established in 1986.
In his address to the troops, President Museveni, commended the UPDF for what he described as the spirit of “Pan-Africanism which is one of the core values that make Ugandan army an exemplary force on the continent”.
“I thank you for helping our brothers and sisters in pacification of Somalia, and being a good example of unity,” the President said.
According to a statement issued by the UPDF Amisom contingent spokesperson, Capt Flavia Telimulungi, the President urged the troops to resist parochialism based on religion, gender disparities and clans, which he said is one of Africa’s major problems.
The summit at the presidential palace was also attended by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
Djibouti was represented by Foreign Affairs minister Mahamoud Youseff, while Sudan was represented by its ambassador Mohamed Yousif Abdelmannan.
Also in attendance were representatives of the UN, African Union, European Union and Arab League.
The heads of state received and discussed follow-up reports on the situation in South Sudan and the security situation in Somalia ahead of the parliamentary elections on Saturday next week and presidential elections on October 30, respectively.
Uganda deployed its troops in 2007, and currently maintains the largest peacekeeping force of 6,000 in Somalia, but recently has hinted on pulling out, citing cutting of support by the donor community.
Other countries contributing troops to Amisom include Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. The mission is funded by the EU, US and United Nations.