Uganda, AU discuss welfare of peacekeeping troops in Somalia


The Ugandan military on Monday said its peacekeeping troops in volatile Somalia could perform better if they were facilitated in time.RDF soldiers dance after returning from a peacekeeping mission in Darfur in 2013. (File)

RDF soldiers dance after returning from a peacekeeping mission in Darfur in 2013. (File)

A military statement issued here on Monday said the country’s concerns were presented in a meeting between the country’s top military officers and the head of the Peace Support Operations Department at the African Union (AU) Commission.
The military expressed concern over compensation, safety and welfare of the troops. Delayed payment of troop allowance was also crucial in the meeting.
“On compensation, the Ugandan team suggested to the AU official that there is need to increase the death compensation from the current 50,000 U.S. dollars because the troops who unfortunately pass on fromSomalia usually leave young families that require extra support,” the statement said.
Uganda also argued that delayed reimbursement of its equipment and compensation, including military assets in the event of loss, impacts on the troops capabilities.
Bam Sivuyile, the head of the Peace Support Operations Department told the meeting held here on May 31 that the delayed payments of allowances affected all the contingents in the mission. He said the delay was as a result of some adjustments being made in the financial process within the AU, which will be for the betterment of all.
“We are aware that it had taken quite a while, but we are glad to announce that funds have now been released to clear the arrears, ” Bam said.
“Uganda is contributing immensely to AMISOM and we will table all these concerns and see if they could be addressed. The challenge, however, is that the funds come from external sources like the European Union and the UN, which sometimes causes delays, ” he added.
The meeting also discussed Uganda’s current troop levels of 6, 223 troops against the critical tasks of securing over half of the population in the liberated areas of Somalia, government organs, key national assets, and the need to secure more areas from Al- Shabaab, the militant group fighting government.
Gen. Katumba Wamala, Chief of Defense Forces of the Ugandan military said despite the challenges Uganda is committed to the peacekeeping mission. Enditem

Source: Xinhua


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