Lt. Gen. Jim Besigye Owoyesigire of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces has today formally taken office as the new Force Commander of African Union Mission in Somalia [AMISOM].
He takes over from Lt. Gen. Osman Noor Soubagleh who has served the Mission since July 2016.
Lt. Gen. Owoyesigire brings close to 40 years of military and diplomatic experience to AMISOM.
He is expected to spearhead efforts to further boost the capacity of the Somali National Army to facilitate the exit of AMISOM from Somalia.
Lt. Gen. Owoyesigire is the former UPDF’s Air Force Commander.
In 2012, Gen Owoyesigire, then Airforce commanding officer and his Chief of Staff, Brig. Moses Rwakitarate, were sacked during an inquiry into the military helicopters’ disaster in which seven servicemen died.
The investigation into the multiple crashes on Mount Kenya was done by Museveni’s brother Gen. Salim Saleh.
The three ill-fated MI-24 attack helicopters that were bound for Mogadishu in August to be used in war against Somali insurgents crashed on Mount Kenya under unclear circumstances.
Lt. Gen. Owoyesigire was then replaced by his deputy, Brig. Sam Turyagyenda, while Brig. Rwakitarate was replaced by Lt. Col. Charles Lutaya, who was promoted to full colonel.