Kenyan officers serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Wednesday donated food packages to vulnerable families in Dhobley and Kismayo ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitri celebrations to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Each of the more than 600 family beneficiaries received a variety of food items that included rice, sugar, spaghetti, tea leaves, biscuits, flour, cooking oil and beans.
In Dhobley, where more than 200 families benefited, Deputy Commander for AMISOM’s Sector II Colonel Jackson Lesaiyo said the support to vulnerable families was important especially for Internally Displaced Persons and for families whose crops were destroyed by heavy rains and flash floods. Added to this, many families are struggling to cope with the devastating socio-economic impact caused by COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today’s program is for AMISOM troops here in Dhobley to share with the community. We got together with our Muslim brothers and sisters so that we help them share the little they have with the less fortunate families who live within liberated areas and population centers under our sector,” Col. Lesaiyo said.
He said that similar donations happened in Bula Haji, Geriley, Buur Gabo, Tabta, Afmadow and other population centers where Kenya Defence Forces under the banner of AMISOM have a presence.
In Kismayo, where over 400 families benefited from the donation in Lakoley and Banjoun towns, the Commander of AMISOM Sector II Brigadier Juma Shee Mwinyikai said the donation was an indication of the peaceful coexistence between the soldiers and local communities.
“In this holy month of Ramadan we seek mercy and forgiveness and this donation is an ideal way to maximize our efforts by extending acts of charity in order to get the most out of Ramadan. We are happy to support our Somali brothers and sisters,” Brig. Juma said.
Dhobley Administrator Siyad Mohamed Hassan praised AMISOM for the support, which he said came at the right time as many vulnerable families are struggling for food due to COVID-19 lockdown and floods that affected their crops.
“People were in dire need. We had heavy rains and floods which destroyed fields. In addition, the border with Kenya is closed and there are no flights coming in. Road transport is also affected. These measures have caused food shortages,” Mr. Hassan said.
The beneficiaries of the donation appreciated the gesture.
Hawo Elmi Hussein, a returnee from Dadaab refugee camps in Northern Kenya said the distribution of food aid was timely since many families were struggling.
“We thank AMISOM and the soldiers who are here today for this donation which will make our Eid-ul-Fitri a happy one,” she said.
Abdullahi Sheikh Saman, an elderly man, was full of joy. “This donation of food to me and other elderly people is very much appreciated. I am grateful to AMISOM and I am going to have a very good Eid day,” he said.
As part of its support to the people of Somalia, AMISOM troops in Jubaland have conducted free medical camps for communities in Dhobley and Kismayo, have donated medical supplies to Dhobley General Hospital among other activities.
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Radio Dalsan Reporter