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Atmis applauds Gen Sam Okiding for his exemplary leadership

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Simon Kabayo
Simon Kabayohttps://eagle.co.ug
Reporter whose work is detailed

The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) has applauded the outgoing Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Sam Okiding, for his exemplary leadership and steering the mission to success during his tenure.

Lt. Gen. Okiding is scheduled to depart the ATMIS mission area to take up a new position as Uganda’s Deputy Chief of Defence Forces.

At a farewell event held at the ATMIS Force Headquarters in Mogadishu, the AU chairperson’s Deputy Special Representative for Somalia, Sivuyile Bam, commended Lt. Gen. Okiding for his stewardship of the multinational African peace support operation.

“Uganda has gained from our loss. As you return to Kampala, we look forward to working with you wherever you are. And we promise that we will continue with your legacy and do the work that is expected of us,” said Bam.

The ATMIS Deputy Force Commander in Charge of Operations and Plans, Maj. Gen. Marius Ngendabanka, applauded Lt. Gen. Okiding for leading the ATMIS military component in implementing its mandate even after troop numbers were reduced and security responsibilities were transferred to the Somali Security Forces.

“We appreciate how he has commanded the military component since his arrival on the mission. We highly appreciate his leadership. He promoted teamwork among staff officers at the ATMIS Force Headquarters and across all sectors,” said Maj. Gen. Ngendabanka.

Lt. Gen. Okiding expressed confidence in the ability of the ATMIS military to successfully implement the mission’s mandate during the transition phase. He pledged that ATMIS would continue to benefit from his support when he assumes his new position as Uganda’s Deputy Chief of Defence Forces.

“My voice will now be heard about Somalia’s operations. We will fight for this operation, especially in the area of force enablers, where we are still lagging behind. And as we continue to draw down and the force shrinks, we need alternatives. So, I think I will be in a better position to advocate for our operations,” he said.

Lt. Gen. Okiding took the helm of the ATMIS military command in May 2023 and presided over the successful handover of 13 Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) and transfer of security responsibilities to the Somali Security Forces during the first and second phases of the ATMIS drawdown concluded in June and December 2023.

Maj. Gen. Ngendabanka has taken over the interim responsibilities of the ATMIS military ahead of the arrival of the substantive Force Commander.

Gen. Okiding will be replaced by Lt. Gen. Sam Kavuma at ATMIS. The has also said Gen. Kavuma will keep his seat in Parliament as UPDF representative.

“Gen. Kavuma doesn’t have to resign his seat in Parliament, it is one year and he is completing Gen. Okiding’s tour of duty. He will remain as an MP” Brig. Felix Kulayigye, Army and Defence Spokesperson told Eagle Online.

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