By Mildred Nambi
Ugandan soldiers from Battle Group 9+, under the command of Colonel Stephen Mugerwa, have completed their 13 month tour of duty and began to return home.
The soldiers were awarded AU peacekeeping medals in a farewell ceremony held at Mogadishu International Airport and attended by Ugandan Contingent Commander Brigadier General Michael Ondoga, , and senior AMISOM officials.
Battle Group 9+, which is made up of reservist soldiers, was first deployed to Somalia in April 2012.
It has succeeded in pushing out from Mogadishu and increasing the Area of Government Operation by 120kms from Maslah to Jowhar and Huriwa to Port Elman.
The relative peace and security that was established by Battle Group 9+ through its area of operations, created the conditions for infrastructure and economic development. This stability and security saw local people begin to return to their homes from internally displaced camps (IDPs), the extension of free medical treatment, beginning of road repairs, provision of clean drinking water and the return of large scale farming.
Battle Group 11+, under the command of Colonel Hassan Kimbowa, has replaced the outgoing Battle Group 9+ and will build on the security gains that their compatriots have achieved.