KAMPALA [SMN] – At least 160 Uganda police officers will be deployed in conflict-threatened Somalia in December 2021, police said in a statement Thursday.
According to police, the officers up for deployment ‘‘on October 14 completed a six-month intensive pre-deployment training course in peacekeeping operations of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).’’
‘‘The Officers, during the training at Kigo, were assessed by a team of five Formed Police Assessment officers Led by ASP Figalo Maxime from AMISOM Headquarters,’’ police disclosed.
The turbulent country in the horn of Africa has for over ten years battled deadly insurgencies, humanitarian crises, political tensions and terror groups including the Al Shabab- in conflicts that have claimed and displaced tens of thousands in the nation of about 15m people.
‘‘In Somalia, the officers will provide public order management, protection of African Union (AU) personnel and facilities within means and capabilities, and Support police operations that require a formed response,’’ police added.
Speaking to France 24 early September, Uganda’s President Museveni said: “The issue in Somalia is when internal forces do not come up to shoulder their responsibilities. They are always against one another. If they did corporate, the situation would have been solved.’’
Kampala posted the first Formed Police Unit (FPU) in the war –torn Somalia under AMISOM in July 2012 following earlier deployment by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) in 2007.
‘‘Units have rotated on annual basis and the deployment of this Unit will make the tenth rotation of Uganda FPU in Somalia under African Union (AU),’’ police explained.
Although Ugandan troops have previously been hailed by global leaders for their role in Somalia’s stabilization, some MPs have often urged a drawdown of armed forces from Mogadishu.
“Actually, we wanted to withdraw. But some prevailed on us. We shall discuss with the AU. For us we believe people should defend themselves,” Mr Museveni said on September 8 as he described Somalia’s unrest as ‘‘political AIDS.’’