A total of 627 Somali and 120 UPDF soldiers were on Tuesday passed out at Bihanga training school in Ibanda district. The Somali government forces were trained in basic military skills, while their UPDF counterparts got trained in medical and driving skills. The training of Somali forces in Uganda is supported by the European Union. Somali president Sheikh Ahmed Shalif on Tuesday presided over the passout. He was accompanied by the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, the minister of defence, Dr. Crispus Kiyonga and the Somali army chief of staff, Brig. Gen. Gelle Ahmed.
Shalif and President Yoweri Museveni, last year passed out 500 Somali soldiers, also trained in Bihanga. Shalif commended Museveni and the Government for their support towards restoring peace in Somalia. He paid tribute to Ugandan combatants who died while on duty in a peace-keeping mission in his country. Kiyonga delivered Museveni’s message, saying Uganda would continue with the peace-keeping mission in Somalia.
Kiyonga thanked the people of Ibanda, especially those in Nyamarebe and Buremba sub-counties, for offering the army training grounds. Nyakairima thanked the Somali government for sending committed trainees. He expressed confidence in Somali soldiers, saying they had attained the skills required to protect their country. The army spokesperson, Lt. Col. Felix Kulayigye, said Uganda, as a member of the African Union, is mandated to ensure peace for the people of Somalia. He added that the training of the soldiers was requested by the African Union and European Union.