US, UK, Italy comfort Museveni over UPDF loss

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General Museveni inspects a guard of honor on arrival at the UPDF base camp Halane

World superpowers United States of America and Britain have comforted Uganda President Yoweri Museveni for losing soldiers in Somalia.

Italy was among the first countries to condole with Uganda People’s Defence Force [UPDF] contingent of the African Union Mission in Somalia [Amisom] that lost 12 soldiers in an al-Shabaab ambush where seven others were injured.

The Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Angelino Alfano, in a message dated July 31, 2017 and on behalf of the Italian Government, presented his sincere condolences to the people and Government of Uganda.

“At this moment of mourning, I would like to commend the extraordinary commitment of UPDF in the fight against terrorism and in promoting the stabilization of Somalia, a goal widely shared by Italy, Alfano said.

He said the Italian government grieved with the people of Uganda, families of the deceased, and wished quick recovery to the wounded.

The US Ambassador to Uganda, Deborah Malac, in a condolence message dated August 1, 2017, said such a loss is always devastating.

“Please know that we share the sorrow of the families, the UPDF, and the nation at this sacrifice in service of the goal of establishing long-lasting peace and security in Somalia,” she noted.

She added: “We are enormously grateful for Uganda’s leading role in AMISOM and appreciate the professionalism and bravery your soldiers exhibit on a daily basis under difficult circumstances in Somalia.”

Ambassador Malac said these soldiers’ sacrifice in support of the AMISOM mission is representative of the patriotism and selfless service for which the UPDF is well known.

“Please accept my heartfelt personal condolences and those of government of the United States of America.”

The British High Commission Assistant Defence Advisor, Col Mike Nicholls, in a condolence message dated August 3, 2017 to the Chief of Defence Forces [CDF], Gen David Muhoozi, said United Kingdom recognises the contribution Uganda is making in Somalia.

“On behalf of my Chief of Defence Staff, the High Commissioner and all staff at the British High Commission, I offer our sincere condolences for the losses suffered by your contingent near Goryowein in the Lower Shabaale region of Southern Somalia,” Col Mike said.

He said the continued contribution made to peace efforts in Somalia by Uganda and particularly the UPDF is recognised in the UK as well as the cost of that involvement.

He said UK will continue to support the peace efforts in Somalia and regional partners who are leading in that process.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all who continue on operations, and those who support them.”

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