April 12, 2007
by Capt. P. Ankunda
Dear Ugandans, I write to thank you for all the support that you have been rendering to us as we settle into our new mission of trying to assist the Somali people.
This is actually a job that we can do. I was on the first aircraft that touched the ground carrying Ugandan peacekeeper. All of us in the plane had thought that on getting out of the Illyushin 76, we would immediately dive for cover.
Although a few mortar shells were fired at us three hours later, we were told by jubilant supporters at the airport that such sounds were 'normal'.
During this one month of our stay, our forces have secured Mogadishu International Airport, Seaport, Kilometre 4 junction, commonly known as the assassination corner and Villa Somalia (State House). We have also been able to secure our own base.
Securing the airport and the seaport means that we are now assured of a steady supply route. This also means that humanitarian agencies have a secure entry into Somalia.
We will do a good job on your behalf and keep the Ugandan flag flying high.
Since the mission started, only one soldier Lance Corporal Wilberforce Rwigira has been killed. He (RIP) died on April 1. Five others were injured. The injured soldiers have since recovered and resumed work.
We were always well aware that we had a job to do. These occurrences therefore have not derailed us.
AU troops (UPDF) are enjoying good relations with the Somali people. This is our strongest weapon.
Our camp for example is well in artillery range, but no single bomb has been directed towards our camp. Leaders of the various clans have assured us of their support. Here, we simply pass as icons of impartiality and neutrality. This will be our strongest weapon.
We ask for your continued support, as we do a job for humanity. A job that the world has shunned for 16 years.
The writer is Spokesman, AMISOM.