The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Monday awarded service medals to 42 senior military staff officers serving within the AMISOM Force Headquarters in Mogadishu from 10 African countries in recognition of their contribution towards peace and stability in Somalia.
The recognized officers hail from Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Egypt, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Ghana, Eswatini, Ethiopia and Zambia. AMISOM Force Commander (FC), Lieutenant General Tigabu Yilma, on Tuesday decorated the officers with African Union medals of service during a parade held in their honour.
Lt. Gen. Yilma was joined in the decoration exercise by his two Deputies, Major General Nakibus Lakara, in-charge of Operations and Plans, and Major General George Owinow, who is in-charge of Logistics and Supplies.
The Force Commander praised the staff officers for conceptualizing, planning and mapping out the military component’s work at a strategic level before it is operationalized on ground by the different combat groups in the fight against the Al-Shabaab.
He said it was because of the important supportive role played by the staff officers that AMISOM continues to register noteworthy successes against the Al-Shabaab, hence, achieving its mandate of peace and security in Somalia.
“We have secured the population. We have secured the main supply routes. We have degraded Al-Shabaab everywhere. AMISOM Military, jointly with the Somali National Army (SNA), have sacrificed their lives for this. To succeed on a mission like this, it takes a military with strong combat support and strong combat service support. Staff officers are the key to the military,” said Lt. Gen. Yilma.
“Without strong combat service support, we cannot do anything, we cannot achieve. That’s why now our task is achieved – because we have a strong military and strong staff officers and I want to congratulate you,” he added.
Following his decoration, AMISOM Chief Military Personnel and Administration Officer, Colonel Mohamed Sadique Fofanah from the Sierra Leone military, said receiving a service medal for taking part in the peace-building process of another country meant a lot to him as someone from a country that was ravaged by war for 11 years.
“This medal serves as recognition of my contribution to bringing peace to Somalia, and at the same time it serves a souvenir. Equally so, from my background, I come from Sierra Leone, which fought an 11-year civil war, and during the peak of our war, other countries contributed troops to bring peace to my country. So, I feel very much delighted today, to be part of this ceremony, as my payback time, for me to contribute in bringing peace to another nation,” said Colonel Fofanah.