Mogadishu(SONNA)-The Force Commander of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Lieutenant General Diomede Ndegeya, has lauded Ethiopian forces serving under AMISOM, based in Southwest state of Somalia, for securing the local population and their contribution to the overall stabilization effort in Somalia.
AMISOM Sector three, which covers Bay, Bakool, and Gedo regions, is manned by troops from the Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF), headquartered in Baidoa, the Administrative capital of Southwest State of Somalia.
Lt. Gen. Ndegeya, who recently assumed command of the peacekeeping force, was addressing ENDF senior officers on Wednesday at the sector Headquarters in Baidoa, as part of his familiarization tour of the six sectors that form AMISOM.
“On January 22, 2014, the Ethiopian National Defense Forces formally joined the AMISOM family, and later took charge of Sector three from UPDF (Uganda People’s Defence Forces) and BNDF (Burundi National Defence Forces),” Lt. Gen. Ndegeya said.
He added, “Since then, the ENDF has deployed units to support Sector 4 and Sector 6. This shows Ethiopia’s long-standing commitment to helping Somalia realize peace, and we really appreciate them.”
Lt. Gen, Ndegeya, was accompanied by top AMISOM military officers from the Force Headquarters in Mogadishu, who included the Deputy Force Commander in-charge of Supplies and Logistics, Major General, George Owinow.
On arrival in Baidoa, Lt. Gen. Ndegeya was received by the AMISOM Sector three Commander, Brigadier General Alemu Ayene, and other senior military officers in the sector, before inspecting a guard-of-honour mounted by Ethiopian AMISOM forces.
The Force Commander noted that the presence of Ethiopian AMISOM forces in the region has enabled the local population to embark on commercial activities and to go about their daily lives.
“Your sector includes Bay, Bakool and part of Gedo, and you have done tremendously well in keeping all those areas safe, helping the local communities to live in peace, and for businesses to thrive again,” he said.
However, the Force Commander noted that there was need to strengthen joint operations with Somali Security Forces (SSF) and step up security along the Baidoa-Leego-Mogadishu Main Supply Route (MSR) and secure population centers, in line with the AMISOM Concept of Operations (CONOPs 2018-2021), and the Somalia Transition Plan (STP).
The Somalia Transition Plan is a comprehensive guide developed by the Federal Government of Somalia and its partners for the transfer of security responsibilities to the Somali National Security Forces ahead of AMISOM’s anticipated exit from the country.
Enhancing security on the MSR, Lt. Gen. Ndegeya noted, will enable the SSF to take up, on their own, the security responsibilities of key installations in the area ahead of AMISOMs envisaged exit.
“Like we did in Mogadishu, the Sector Commander should work with the Somali Security Forces with a view to gradually handing the responsibility of installations in Baidoa to Somali Security Forces. It is also important to rethink the supper convoy to help open up the main supply routes from Baidoa- Leego-Mogadishu with a view of enhancing security in Leego,” Lt. Gen. Ndegeya said.
Lt. Gen. Ndegeya also held a closed-door meeting with top AMISOM military officers in the sector, where he was briefed about the security situation and the welfare of the troops in the area.
Sector three, is the fourth sector that Lt. Gen. Ndegeya is visiting since assuming office. He’s visited sector one, four and five within AMISOMs Areas of Responsibility (AoR).
The ENDF also supports operations in AMISOMs sector four and six, where they conduct operations with other AMISOM Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs).