Traditional dancers perform during a cultural event organised by Ugandan contingent serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), held in Mogadishu, Somalia on 31 August 2019. AMISOM Photo / Omar Abdisalan

AMISOM Sector One, which is under the command of Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) held a gala marked by traditional dance performances and a cultural exhibition to display how peace and unity can prevail in culturally diverse communities.

Held under the theme ‘UPDF: a united force in cultural diversity,’ the gala aimed to celebrate Uganda’s cultural diversity by bringing together soldiers serving under AMISOM to showcase their cultures and the peaceful coexistence between the different communities.

The commander of the Ugandan AMISOM contingent, Brig. Michael Kabango said, “In the African culture, we get an excuse to celebrate, dance, sing, feast, eat. And here in Somalia, we have a very big excuse. For the first time in Africa’s history, we have seen a homegrown African mission make great strides in securing the continent’s peace.”

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Away from the battlefield and with the military fatigues put away, the soldiers of all ranks and file displayed the rich array of dances from the various communities of Uganda.

Brig. Michael Kabango added, “We are celebrating the success, so far, of this mission. Secondly, the success would not have been possible, but for those who have sacrificed. So, we are celebrating the lives and sacrifices of our heroes and heroines who have gone through this mission.”

Addressing guests present, Uganda’s Ambassador to Somalia, Prof. Sam Turyamuhika highlighted the commitment of his country to AMISOM in order to ensure the success of the mission to bring peace and security to Somalia.

“You will agree with me that we have been entertained through a diversity of culture, mainly dances. So, these men and women you see here are not just good fighters. They are also good dancers,” added Prof. Turyamuhika.

Lt. Mary Sylvia Lamunu who was among the performers at the cultural gala said, “We are diverse as Ugandans. We are of different tribes, but we are one as UPDF. We follow the goals of the mission, which leads us to success.”

She added, “In our diversity, we are still standing as one in the name of peace”.

Besides the music and dance performances, there was an exhibition of cuisines, regalia and artefacts of the various indigenous communities of Uganda.

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