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New UN Guard Unit starts duties protecting world body’s staff in Mogadishu

Friday July 26, 2019

The outgoing commander of the United Nations Guard Unit, Lt. Col. Stuart Agaba (right), hands over a UN flag to the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan, during the command hand over/take over ceremony held in Mogadishu, S

The United Nations in Somalia today marked the arrival of a new contingent of Ugandan peacekeepers charged with ensuring the safety of the world body’s staff in their compound in the capital city, Mogadishu.

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At a handover ceremony, the arrival of hundreds of new soldiers who will serve in the UN Guard Unit (UNGU), replacing an outgoing contigent, was welcomed by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan, and Uganda’s Commander of Land Forces, Lieutenant General Peter Elwelu.

“Do your work. It is about the mission all the time. For the next one year that you are going to be here, please focus on the mission. What I want you to promote here is the spirit of comradeship. When you have teamwork, I assure you that you will find your mission very simple,” the senior Ugandan officer told members of the new contingent after the handover.

The ceremony saw the UN and Ugandan flags received by Mr. Swan and Lieutenant General Peter Elwelu, from the outgoing UNGU commander, Colonel Stuart Agaba, and handed over to his successor, Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Bainomugisha.

“I thank the army leadership under the Chief of Defence Forces, and in particular the Commander of Land Forces for the trust put in me,” Lt. Col. Bainomugisha said. “I will lead professionally and effectively.”

The incoming protection unit – known as UNGU VI, due it being the sixth such rotation – is made up of soldiers from the Uganda People’s Defence Forces with 625 officers and enlisted troops, and includes 86 women among them.

UNGU contingents are tasked with protecting UN staff and installations in Mogadishu in order to assist staff of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), the UN Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) and other parts of the UN system carry out their work in the Horn of Africa country’s capital.

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