The Commander Land Forces of the Uganda Peoples' Defence Forces (UPDF), Lt Gen Peter Elwelu, has flagged off the seventh United Nations Guard Unit (UNGU VII) to Somalia.
The Guard Unit comprising of over 600 peacekeepers is commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Francis Odikiro. The function took place at UPDF's Peace Support Operations and Training Center (PSO-TC) in Singo, Nakaseke District.
Lt Gen Elwelu informed the UPDF Officers and Militants Under UNGU VII that the first five UNGU deployments in Somalia have done a commendable job in Somalia and made Uganda proud.
He urged them to maintain the standards through selfless service, doing their tasks to the required standards, and being disciplined.
"You will be required to serve above self, do excellent work and keenly follow the Standing Operating Procedures as well as observing all the UN standard behaviors that include but are not limited to saying NO to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) in your working environment," said Lt Gen Peter Elwelu.
He cautioned the Officers and militants to ensure that Uganda's UNGU in Somalia is not added to the UN list of missions with a record of violations.
"Cases of SEA and other forms of violation of ideals have been reported in many UN missions across the globe. However, the records of Uganda's first five UNGU deployments in Somalia are good. Maintain this image or even do better works to further polish Uganda's image in UN missions," said Lt Gen Elwelu.
He added that: "Uganda is privileged to be selected by the UN to contribute a Guard Unit. There have not been many Guard Units in the history of the UN. It would therefore be very disheartening to Ugandans to hear that their representatives in UNGU VII are involved in violations."
The Commandant of PSO-TC Brig Gen Bony Wolimbwa said UNGU VII will deploy in a phased manner based on UN and World Health Organization's guidelines on prevention and control of COVID-19.
The flag off ceremony was attended by principle Staff Officers of PSO-TC and Commanders of the thirtieth and thirty first Battle Groups who are also at PSO-TC on standby for deployment to Somalia but are still affected by the current suspension of rotation for troops under African Union deployment following the COVID-19 pandemic.