ADDIS ABABA (SD) – Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo has held talks with his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni barely a month after the latter threatened to withdraw peacekeeping troops in Somalia who are serving under the African Union’s mission.
In a brief statement, Villa Somalia said the two leaders held talks on the sideline of Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed’s swearing in ceremony in Addis Ababa town.
“President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni have reiterated their commitment to further the Somali-Uganda bilateral relations especially in strengthening areas of cooperation in Security, Economy and regional development. The two leaders held discussions when they met in Addis,” the statement reads in part.
It is not yet clear whether two leaders discussed the recent remarks of Museveni who warned that he may decide to remove troops because of political squabbles in the war-torn country, saying he was tired of endless misunderstandings between Somali leaders.
“The issue in Somalia is when internal forces do not come up to shoulder their responsibilities. They are always against one another. If they did corporate, the situation would have been solved,” he told France 24TV last month.
It is the second time Uganda vows to pull its troops out of Somalia. In 2019, Museveni of Uganda threatened to withdraw his country’s forces from the peacekeeping mission in Somalia in a bid to exert pressure on the United Nations after the organization proposed to reduce the number of troops on the mission.
The East African country was the first to deploy troops under AMISOM into Somalia in March 2007.
The Ugandan contingent remains the largest contingent in AMISOM with 6,223 troops based in Sector 1 which comprises of Banadir (Mogadishu), Middle and Lower Shabelle regions. They are led by Sector Commander, Brig. Dick Olum, who replaced Brig. Michael Ondoga.
The current Deputy Force Commander Operations and Planning Major General Geoffrey Baraba Muheesi hails from Uganda.
So far, Uganda has deployed 12 battle groups into the Mission area.