The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Somalia (SRSG), Nicholas Kay, has commended Ugandan soldiers under the United Nations Guard Unit, for the work they are doing to ensure safety and security of UN personnel in Somalia.
SRSG Kay spoke as he officiated at the rotation of the UN Guard Unit (UNGU), including the change of command ceremony, held at the Unit’s offices in Mogadishu.
During the ceremony, the commander of the outgoing Guard Unit (UNGU One) Lt. Col. Wycliff Ruterana Keita, handed over to the incoming Commander of the incoming Guard Unit (UNGU Two), Lt. Col. Richard Walekula.
UNGU One, which is made up of 410 soldiers from Uganda, was inaugurated on 18th May 2014; and according to SRSG Kay, it was the first-ever contribution by Uganda, to UN field operations.
“UNGU one has consistently impressed with their demonstrated professionalism and dedication to their duties. I express my sincere appreciation on behalf of the United Nations Secretary-General and all UN personnel in Somalia for their exemplary service and for the high standard of conduct over the past 14 and a half months,” he said.
Uganda’s Ambassador to Somalia Nathan Mugisha reaffirmed Uganda’s commitment to support international peace efforts in Somalia and the sub-region. He said, “You have made us proud for a good job that you have done, having been the first of your kind. Really, we think you have set the standards and you have met the expectations of the UN family. And for that, a job that looked like it couldn’t be done, UPDF can. For that matter, the skills you have acquired and the knowledge, we expect you to maintain it and demonstrate even further that really UPDF can do even the impossible.”
The Guard Unit works with other partners to provide security to various high-level UN meetings. The unit also provides protection to visiting delegations.
They have provided protection to the UN Secretary General, members of the UN Security Council and delegations from the World Bank. UNGU Two is made up of 530 soldiers from Uganda.