AMISOM, Somali military chiefs plan joint operations against al-Shabab


ILE PHOTO: Soldiers in the 17th Battle Group of the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) serving in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in Barawe, Somalia. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

Senior African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali National Army (SNA) military chiefs visited the Ugandan troops in the southern region as part of efforts to plot joint operations against al-Shabab.

The AU mission said on Thursday the joint visit by its force commander Diomede Ndegeya and Somalia’s Chief of Defence Forces Odowaa Yusuf Rageh is part of wider efforts to enhance coordination and joint military operations by the allied forces against the militant group.

“The visit has the objective to set up staff and coordination activities in sectors, to engage sector commanders on enhancing joint offensive operations, to promote the spirit of cooperation and to synchronize operation plans,” Ndegeya said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

The Ugandan troops are in charge of sector 1, which includes the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia and Mogadishu and houses the headquarters of AMISOM and international partners.

Ndegeya lauded Ugandan troops for their immense role in restoring security and stability by degrading the al-Shabab and winning the hearts and minds of local Somali communities.

“Allow me to congratulate through you, sector commanders – both AMISOM and SNA, and all the brave SNA and Ugandan soldiers who, recently, on February 20 put out of action 60 al-Shabab militants, including some of their commanders,” Ndegeya said.

The joint visit is also part of efforts to enhance synergy between the two forces in the implementation of the Somali Transition Plan, under which the mission will gradually hand over security responsibilities to Somali security forces and exit by 2021.

The AMISOM said the joint visit is part of wider efforts to enhance coordination and joint military operations by AMISOM and the SNA against al-Shabab.

On his part, Rageh, commended AMISOM for its contribution to the stabilization of Somalia, noting that SNA is keen to harmonize strategies.

Uganda is one of the Troop Contributing Countries under AMISOM and was the first country to volunteer its troops to the mission when it was formed in 2007.