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Ugandan Army Commander Urges the World to Help Country
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Mogadishu, 30 April 2007 - General Katumba Wamla, commander of Ugandan infantry forces, who paid a visit to his soldiers in Somalia, held a press conference in Mogadishu Monday.

The General told journalists that he came to Mogadishu to see if 1,700 African Union UPDF soldiers in Somalia were keeping up with the peacekeeping mission in the Horn of Africa country.

The Ugandan troops are currently based around KM4 intersection and Ambassador Hotel near Mogadishu international airport. The hotel houses number of government officials.

Mr. Katumba praised his troops for being involved in humanitarian work. "I have seen the soldiers extending humanitarian services to internally displaced people by giving them mineral water and also treating sick people who were caught in the crossfire during the war, and we are still here to reach out the Somali people," he said.

He said the Ugandans were in control of the security of the airport and seaport and were not assigned to be involved in any local fighting. "I want be clear about this. Our role at both the seaport and airport is providing security. We are not involved in any other activities. We don't do the migration aspects. We don't control taxes. Ours is only security," he said, adding that the Ugandan troops have also been assigned to provide security to the VIPs.

The Somali-Ethiopian troops routed remnants of Islamists backed by clan militias out of the capital late last week, stationing the largest number of troops at the main streets of the gun-infested city. Troops have been searching cars for weapons and explosives.

Somali president who held a press conference in Mogadishu Saturday appealed to the international relief agencies and donor countries to deploy an immediate aid to war-affected population in Somalia.

The Ugandan official urged the Somali government to talk with the defeated Islamists. He said the government should extend an amnesty to those who were defeated in order to avoid another bloodshed and revenge killings.

Calling on the international community to help the Somali people, he said he believes the world deserted the Somali community who is in dire need of food, medicine and shelter. "The international community and organizations should assist the Somali people. It is not the time turn their backs on the Somalis who need them more now," he said.

Source: Shabelle Media Network

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