The Minister of State for Defence – General Duties Hon Col (Rtd) Charles Engola has passed out 62 officers and Non Commissioned Officers at the UPDF NCOs Academy in Gaddafi Barracks – Jinja district.
At least 14 of the graduates were UPDF officers undergoing the Officer Basic Course while 56 NCOs were from both Uganda and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.
Presiding over the function, Hon Engola thanked the two Presidents of Uganda and Equatorial Guinea for the initiative of identifying problems that require common solutions thus allowing 30 Equatorial Guinea officers and men to be trained in Uganda.
He expressed pride at the way the two leaders were jointly sorting out African problems.
He told the congregation that this was one way of cementing the existing bilateral relations and implementing the Memorandum of Understanding that the two countries signed and ratified.
“As the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs we shall always be ready to receive trainees from other fraternal armies and train them so that they are able to handle their countries’ security matters and later of the region at large,” he added.
The visiting Minister of Defence of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea Juvenile Mbomio who attended the graduation of his countrymen, thanked President Museveni for taking such a Pan-Africanist stand and allowing them to bring their officers and men for training.
Mbomio added that there is no country that can develop without security and it is his belief that there can never be peace if Equatorial Guinea is never ready to defend itself and its interests.
He expressed his gratitude to the people, Government of Uganda and the UPDF for the hospitality accorded to him and his delegation.
The Minister was accompanied by the Minister delegate to the Presidency in charge of external security Mr Juan Antonio Bibang.
The function was attended among others by the Commander Land Forces Maj Gen Peter Elwelu who represented the Chief of Defence Forces and Brig Willis Byarugaba the Chief of Training and Recruitment.