KAMPALA- Six Ugandan army generals were yesterday awarded a prestigious US military service medal for their outstanding command against al-Shabaab in Somalia.
The visiting commander of the US-Africa Command, Gen David Rodriguez, decorated the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Katumba Wamala and five officers who have commanded the African Union troops with the Legion of Merit, a US military award given to outstanding performers.
“The last five are former AMISOM Force commanders, whereas Gen Edward Katumba Wamala was the Commander Land Forces, directly charged with harmonising UPDF operations in Somalia and now the Chief of Defence Forces of the UPDF,” the army spokesperson, Lt Col Paddy Ankunda said in a statement.
The awardees were Maj Generals Levi Karuhanga, Fred Mugisha, Francis Okello, Nathan Mugisha and Lt Gen Andrew Gutti.
Maj Gen Karuhanga was the first AU force commander in March 2007 when Uganda was the only country fighting al-Shabaab before Burundians joined in the same year in September.
The AU Force is now composed of four countries after Djibouti and Kenya joined Uganda and Burundi. Sierra Leon was the fifth country but it pulled out of the mission because of Ebola.
The Ugandan contingent remains the largest in AMISOM with 6,223 troops based in Sector One, which comprises Banadir (Mogadishu), Middle and Lower Shabelle regions.
Gen Rodriguez said less than 200 of the awards have been given to foreign leaders and that the six are the first in Uganda.
“Because of these leaders, because of what they have done to command troops in Somalia, the Somali people have a chance to live a better life……. I represent my Country to say thank you,” he was quoted in the statement.
Maj Gen Levi Karuhanga
Maj Gen Francis Okello
Maj Gen Nathan Mugisha
Maj Gen Fred Mugisha
Lt Gen Andrew Gutti