Service and Sacrifice: Ugandan ‘Blue Helmets’ support UN efforts to bring peace to Somalia

UN Photo/Ilyas Ahmed A female Ugandan soldier serving under the United Nations Guard Unit (UNGU) scans the horizon through a pair of binoculars while on duty at a security tower in Mogadishu, Somalia.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


A contingent of 530 Ugandan “Blue Helmets” (63 women, 467 men) is playing a crucial role in the United Nations’ efforts to help bring peace and stability to Somalia. They make up the United Nations Guard Unit (UNGU, that is tasked with protecting UN compounds in Mogadishu in order to assist the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) to carry out their mandate.

The job does not come without risks.  An attack on the United Nations compound in Somalia in January this year is “still fresh in our minds” according to the commander of Ugandan peacekeepers who are tasked with protecting the base and its personnel.

Seven mortars landed inside the compound in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on New Year’s Day, injuring two UN staff members and one contractor. The group, Al-Shabaab, reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.

This was a “notable indirect mortar attack shelling of United Nations compound within Mogadishu International Airport,” said Colonel Stuart R. Agaba, the commander of the UNGU.

“UNGU responded immediately by adopting a counter infiltration – defensive posture and was more than ready to fend off any follow-up attack,” added Colonel Agaba.

That includes deterring and protecting UN personnel and infrastructure against armed attack including patrolling inside and in the immediate vicinity of UN compounds. The Ugandan peacekeepers are also trained to provide a “rapid extraction and evacuation capability for UN personnel.”

Perilous

The UN describes the security situation in Somalia as “volatile” and recently in Mogadishu there has been “a spike in reported activities,” by terrorist organizations.  According to Colonel Agaba, the Ugandan peacekeepers are working in a “in perilous operational environment,” that “oscillates between medium to high risk.”

The Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) has been providing troops for the UNGU since 2015; this is the fifth rotation of forces who serve for one year.

This is a “new experience for men and women of the UPDF,” said Colonel Agaba. “They have a myriad of experiences, they learn endurance, how to manage stress and get to understand how the UN works,” he added.

Women

Currently, there are 63 women serving in the contingent. “Female soldiers, both rank and file,” are a key element of the UNGU as they “give hope to women and children of the host country,” said Colonel Agaba.

The female officers are deployed in a range of roles including commanding troops, search and security and other guard duties and play a key role in the Security Information and Operations Centre (SIOC).

Pan-Africanist ideology

Somalia is a near neighbour of Uganda’s in East Africa and according to Colonel Agaba, his country’s contribution to peacekeeping “stems from a pan-Africanist ideology in which Uganda has made and continues to make sacrifices for Somalia’s quest for peace, prosperity and stability.”

And as the commanding officer Colonel Agaba believes that “ensuring that UNGU officers, men and women, effectively carry out mandated operations with utmost compliance to UN principles, makes our contribution to UN global peace efforts a gratifying experience.”

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

UN expert condemns new sentence for jailed Venezuelan judge as ‘another instance of reprisal’

Central banking in times of complexity

Latest leaked TTIP document confirms EU sovereignty may be under threat

Alexis Tsipras against internal and external “enemies” in pursue of a two-phase deal now

On the first day of 2019, over 395,000 babies to be born worldwide: UNICEF

Why the financial scandals multiply?

EU mobilises €21 million to support Palestine refugees via the UN Relief and Works Agency

This woman changed the world of work – and you’ve probably never heard of her

Nigeria: Armed conflict continues to uproot thousands, driving up humanitarian need

“The Belt and Road Initiative should be mutually beneficial for EU and China and every participating country”, Vice-President Papadimoulis of the European Parliament underscores from European Business Summit 2018

These are the fastest trains in the world

Does May have enough time in Parliament to table a soft Brexit deal?

The cost of healthcare is rising in ASEAN. How can nations get the most for their money?

This is how people in Europe are helping lead the energy charge

It’s ‘time for concrete action’ says UN chief, welcoming inter-Korean agreement

How dearly will Germany pay for the Volkswagen emissions rigging scandal

How to fix our planet: the pioneers fighting to bring nature back

China rare earth prices soar on their potential role in trade war

Venezuela: Competing US, Russia resolutions fail to pass in Security Council

How universities can become a platform for social change

Why do medical students have to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

Bank resolutions to remain a politically influenced affair

UN and partners appeal for $920 million to meet ‘dire needs’ of Rohingya refugees

Back to school: Schoolchildren to receive milk, fruits and vegetables at school thanks to EU programme

Crucial medical supplies airlifted to north-east Syria to meet ‘desperate need’

Trade is not a weapon. Let’s not use it as one

EU-US trade agreement talks to be affected by American bugs

Africa is creating one of the world’s largest single markets. What does this mean for entrepreneurs?

These artists created a huge open library – and their idea’s gone global

Eurozone guarantees all banks with…taxpayers’ money

Climate change update: will the UN member states regain momentum despite the little progress at COP23?

Strengthening the rule of law through increased awareness, an annual monitoring cycle and more effective enforcement

EU confronts environmental threats as global leaders attempt to revive the global sentiment at NYC climate week

Merkel refuses to consider the North-South schism of Eurozone

Eurozone: Uncertain future with unemployment ravaging the South

Entrepreneurship in a newly shaped Europe: what is the survival kit for a young Catalan and British entrepreneur in 2018?

The gender gap of medicine in 2018

Trade Committee advocates lower tariffs in Western Sahara

EU-wide protection and support for whistle-blowers

Angola’s President João Lourenço calls for stronger EU-Africa cooperation

The JADE Spring Conference 2017 is casting its shadows before

What Merkel and Macron are to tell Trump in Davos?

What’s going on in Chernobyl today?

Deadly swine fever threatens Asia, UN agriculture agency warns, urging regional collaboration

Central African Republic: UN chief hails signing of new peace agreement

Quality Internships: Towards a Toolkit for Employers

I have a rare disease. This is my hope for the future of medicine

2016 crisis update: the year of the Red Fire Monkey burns the world’s markets down

Currency Union might not let an independent Scotland join the EU as the “Yes” front now leads

UN boosts humanitarian appeal to help tackle Zimbabwe’s ‘worst-ever’ hunger crisis

In this Tokyo cafe, the waiters are robots operated remotely by people with disabilities

The current devaluation of primary health care professionals

What has changed in the French politico-economic horizon

EU deserves the title of the Syrian affair merchandiser

A Sting Exclusive: “Paris and beyond: EU action and what COP21 should deliver”, Green MEP Keith Taylor discusses from Brussels 

Commission caps charges on card and Internet payments and enforces competition

Medicine and mental health: relax, the doctor is a lifelong learner

Over 330,000 Congolese migrants at risk after mass deportations from Angola – UN rights chief

Fairer, simpler, more flexible EU farm policy: MEPs vote on post-2020 reform

Storms and snow in Lebanon worsen plight for Syrian refugees

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s