Thursday August 13, 2015
China has donated equipment worth about 5.5 million U.S. dollars to Uganda for its peacekeeping operations in war-torn Somalia, an army spokesperson said Wednesday.The donation by the Chinese Defense Ministry, the biggest to the Ugandan military over the past years, includes three 50-ton cranes, 12 troop carriers, four 10,000-liter water wagons and 16 water trailers, Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda, spokesperson for Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF), said in a statement.
"The equipment will be a big boost in helping our efforts in Somalia. The rate of wear and tear of equipment in Somalia is very high, so regular replenishment like this is very necessary," Chief of Defense Forces Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala said at a ceremony held here.
Chinese ambassador to Uganda Zhao Yali welcomed Uganda's idea to deploy the equipment in volatile Somalia and applauded the country's contribution to regional peace and stability.
"We are all currently faced with terrorist attacks. In the fight against terrorism, we need international cooperation," Zhao said.
The ambassador said that China and Uganda share a common mission of safeguarding regional and global peace.
"UPDF plays a big role in safeguarding security for the benefit of Uganda and the entire region," Zhao said.
"Of all the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, we (China) have the biggest number of peacekeepers in several areas including South Sudan. In that regard we have the same mission and need to work with each other," Zhao said.
Uganda has deployed more than 8,000 troops in Somalia for peacekeeping operations against Somali militants under the African Union mission in Somalia.
Gen. Jeje Odongo, Uganda's state minister for defense, said that in the past 10 years, China has donated equipment worth about 20 million dollars, greatly contributing to Kampala's efforts to professionalize the army and develop the country.