UPDF Hands over State House, Parliament to Somalia Security Forces

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The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF), serving under the African Union Transition Mission (ATMIS), have handed over the security responsibility of Villa Somalia (the State House) and Parliament to the Somalia Security Forces.

Sheikh Ali Hussein Maalim, the National Security Advisor to the President, while welcoming the dignitaries at the grand ceremony that took place on December 18, 2023, said that it is a significant milestone not only for the federal government of Somalia but also for the people of Somalia.

He noted that the government is sending a big message to the public that it is capable of taking charge of Somali security, and people are gaining confidence in the Somali security forces.

“It’s a historical day; the takeover of these vital installations is a testimony by the government to the public, who view the Somalia government as serious about protecting its own,” Maalim said.

He added that it’s a milestone not because ATMIS is leaving; he noted that it shows the government’s seriousness in protecting its citizens.

Abdihakim Mohamed Yusuf, the Chief of Staff of the Office of the President, appreciated the sacrifice from the brothers and sisters of all Troop Contributing Countries (TCC), who helped rebuild Somalia.

He acknowledged that Somalia is fighting the most sophisticated terror group in the world, Al Shabab.

“The fact that we are taking over security responsibility for these vital installations shows that we are defeating them. We are now fighting Al-Shabab 500 to 800 kilometres away from Mogadishu,” said Mohamed.

He further applauded the TCCs, especially the Ugandan Forces, who have been there for 16 years.

Brig. Gen. Peter Gaetano Omola, Sector One Commander ATMIS, said the UPDF were honoured and privileged to hand over the most vital installations that they have been protecting for the last 16 years.

“We have diligently and proudly offered security protection to five presidents, the entire State House staff, and, to some extent, the Presidents of the Federal Member States,” said Brig. Gen. Omola.

According to Brig. Gen. Omola, Somalia Security Forces are effectively manning the FOBs that were handed over in Phase 1 of the ATMIS drawdown.

The handover function was witnessed by Catriona Laing, United Nations Special Representative; Lt.Gen.Sam Holding, ATMIS force commander; Ms.Qurat Sadozal, Officer in Charge of UNSOS; and Col. George Nlasah, Chief Plans Officer, among others.

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