Ugandan troops serving under the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) participated in community service as part of celebrations to commemorate ‘Tarehe Sita.’ ‘Tarehe Sita’ is an annual event that marks the day the National Resistance Army (NRA) – the armed wing of the National Resistance Movement – led by Yoweri Museveni (the current President) launched an armed struggle on 6 February 1981 to end misrule in Uganda.
In Somalia, the Ugandan forces celebrated the 42nd ‘Tarehe Sita’ anniversary by organising a free medical camp for communities living near the base camp and also conducting a tree planting and clean-up exercise.
Speaking during the celebrations, the commander of the Uganda ATMIS contingent, Brig. Gen. Peter Omola, said the community activities were meant to strengthen relations with the local communities.
“It is not about fighting. It is not about guns. We need to do a lot and win the hearts and minds of Somali civilians,” said Brig. Gen. Omola, adding that marking ‘Tarehe Sita’ in Somalia was an opportunity to strengthen relations with local communities that have remained steadfast in supporting ATMIS’ work.
“We are a people’s army and on a day like this, we always associate with the civilians and we give back to the population. Without the civilian population, we cannot achieve much especially here in Somalia,” observed Brig. Gen. Omola.
The day was commemorated under the theme: “Recognising the Sacrifice of the founders of the People’s Revolution for social economic transformation.” The Uganda ATMIS contingent Political Commissar, Maj. Kaleeba Habaruhanga, advised the soldiers to uphold professionalism and selflessly serve the people of Somalia.