The Somali President, Hassan Sheik Mohamud on Saturday arrived in Uganda, to attend in a rare occasion, the pass out of trainees from his country.
“H.E Hassan Sheik Mohamud arrived in the country for the pass out of Somali trainees at the Special Mission Training Centre, Butiaba in Buliisa district,” State House said in a statement on Saturday afternoon.
At Entebbe International Airport, the Somali president who is accompanied by his daughter Janah Hassan Sheik was welcomed by the Ugandan Minister for Defence, Vincent Ssempijja, deputy UPDAF commander, Gen Steven Kiguundu, Crime Intelligence Director, AIGP Christopher Ddamulira ,deputy commissioner general of Prisons ,Samuel Akena and Uganda’s deputy ambassador to Somalia among others.
It is not an everyday occasion for a president to visit the neighbouring country, just to witness the pass out of his country’s soldiers who are completing any given training.
On many occasions, countries send delegations especially from the embassy or the national army to attend the pass out ceremonies.
Whereas for many years Somali soldiers and police officers have received training from Uganda, their president hasn’t attend their pass out ceremony.
The Somalia National Army officers who are being passed out today, Sunday at the Special Mission Training Centre in Butiaba have been trained by Uganda’s Special Forces Command.
The officers being passed out today are therefore a special lot in the eyes of the Somali president.
These are part of the efforts to ensure self-sustainability of Somalia by training its forces to take charge of the country.
The officers trained at Butiaba will offer guard duties to VIPs in Somalia, including the president.
Uganda is part of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) mandate with preparing Somalia to handle its own affairs after a period of over 30 years in turmoil between government and Jihadist groups which had made the country ungovernable.
The deployment of an African Union force (AMISOM) in 2007 led by Uganda turned the tide in Somalia to expel Al Shabab which controlled over 80% of the country to ensure the Mogadishu establishment regains control of affairs.