UK gives AMISOM £5.6m equipment

The United Kingdom has donated heavy equipment worth £5.6m (Shs 26.8bn) to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to help in clearing main supply routes as the force steps up the condition-based transition process.

The equipment which includes tractor trucks, bulldozers, backhoe and front end loaders, forklifts and module dump tipper among others will be used in Sectors one, two and five together with the Mission Enabling Unit based in Mogadishu.

While handing over the equipment, on Saturday, the United Kingdom Ambassador to Somalia, David Concar, said his government was proud to be associated with AMISOM in its efforts to stabilize Somalia and help secure lasting peace and security.

“What we are doing today, transferring 5.6m pounds worth of equipment is, we hope, going to make a real difference to the ability of AMISOM to clear roads, supply routes and to press ahead with stabilizing Somalia and working in partnership with Somalia’s own forces as they get stronger,” Concar said.

Concar thanked the peacekeeping force together with the troop contributing countries for the sacrifice they have made to ensure stability in Somalia.

“We thank you AMISOM for everything you have done and the troop contributing countries and above all the troops who are out there in these dangerous environments often paying for the stability and progress we have seen with the ultimate sacrifice,” Concar said.

Receiving the 49 heavy machinery equipment, AMISOM Force Commander, Lt Gen Jim Besigye Owoyesigire, said the equipment will come in handy in the current period when the force is determined to kick out Al-Shabaab from the key areas they still occupy.

“We thank the government of UK for supporting us with these force enablers,” Lt Gen Owoyesigire said.

Sector One Commander, Brigadier Paul Lokech, who received 14 of the machines donated pledged to use the equipment wisely to make the transition process a success.

“We know with this equipment, we can improve our operations capability and also it will help us, jointly with the Somalis, meet the requirement of phase one of our transition,” Brig Lokech said.

Besides sector one, 12 machines will be donated to Sector two, Sector five (12) and Mission Enabling Unit (11).

Last year, the UN Security Council approved the gradual reduction of AMISOM troops and transfer of security responsibilities to Somali national security forces.