- In 2007, Uganda was the first country to send troops to keep peace Somalia.
President Museveni has urged the people of Somalia to consider building a People’s National Army with the correct ideology of defending their country for peace to prevail.
He said the country needs to stabilise so as to raise enough resources for self-sustenance.
This was during a meeting with the visiting President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who paid a courtesy call on his Ugandan counterpart at State House Entebbe on Sunday.
According to President Museveni, like the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), an army should be built on voluntarism to protect the State so that in future, the country can raise resources to pay the soldiers.
“This is a problem with many West African countries. The collapse of the security apparatus is caused by mixing defence with money. For us we say, you build a people’s liberation army based on voluntarism. That’s how we built our force,” President Museveni said.
He added that this will enable Somalia, which is three times bigger than Uganda in size, to recruit enough manpower to defend and liberate the country so that it’s able to collect taxes and pay salaries.
“Get peace first and money later. If the people are there, what you need to tell them is how a poor man can defend himself with or without money,” he said.
President Mohamud, who finished his visit to Uganda yesterday, informed Mr Museveni that because of the peace ushered in by the UPDF and other peace-contributing countries, Somalia has been able to recruit a good number of community defence forces.
He said the forces are now able to defend their areas under the direct supervision of the Somali National Army.
He also discussed issues of mutual concern, including an upcoming conference of troop-contributing countries in Kampala, focusing on Somalia’s fight against international terrorism.
While in Uganda, President Mohamud alongside his Ugandan counterpart also witnessed the passing out of 2,900 trainees for the Somali National Army who successfully concluded their 4-month special Basic Military Training at the Special Mission Training Centre in Butiaba, Buliisa District.
President yesterday tweeted, “I therefore acknowledge H.E Sheikh Hassan’s good words about Uganda in regard to our modest contribution to the resistance against the ideologically confused terrorists in Somalia.”
Ministers for Defence of both countries; Uganda’s Vincent Baamulangaki Ssempijja and Somalia’s Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur also attended the engagements. President Mohamud departed for Somalia yesterday.
Somalia wants to train and recruit at least 24,000 soldiers by December 2024 to take over from the African Transitional Mission in Somalia, whose troops including from Uganda and Djibouti, are expected to start withdrawing from the country in 2023.
In 2007, Uganda was the first country to send troops to keep peace Somalia.