African military chiefs Wednesday visited the UPDF Peace Support Operations Centre in Singo and witnessed the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers undergoing training for the mission in war-torn Somalia.
The visiting officers, who included commanders of land forces watched simulations of how the Ugandan soldiers respond to enemy attacks on its convoys and foot patrols while on missions such as that in Somalia.
UPDF soldiers soon to be deployed to Somalia under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), held combat drills under US, French and Belgian military instructors.
According to Col. Steven Kashure the commandant of Singo, the centre conducts battle group command training, small arms training, tactical combat and driving training as well as re-orientation and post-mission training for former peacekeepers.
The centre has so far trained ten Ugandan battle groups, seven of which have so far been deployed on peacekeeping missions in Somalia, according to Col. Kashure.
He said the passed-out officers and men have contributed to distinguished performances in peacekeeping missions which have earned UPDF a high commendation among African national armies.
The African military officers are currently in the country attending the African Land Forces Summit at Speke Resort Munyonyo.
The four-day summit organized by the US Army Africa (USARAF) has attracted senior military officers from 36 countries from eastern, western, northern, central and southern Africa. Some of the countries include Gambia, Botswana, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, DR Congo, Libya, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and Lesotho.
Brig. Charles Bakahumura, the intelligence chief also briefed the officers on the progress in the operations against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels as well as the fight against the Al-Shabaab.
Brig. Bakahumura said the LRA rebels had been weakened, however the rebel group’s ability to wreak havoc on the local populations remains.
He said the planned setting up of a regional force of 5,000 drawn from the LRA-affected countries will boost efforts to neutralize the LRA rebels.
Brigadier General Alie Sesay, the Joint Force Commander of the Sierra Leone army said the West African nation would be ready to contribute troops to the AMISOM peacekeeping mission next month (June).