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AU forces to distribute medical supplies in Lower Shebelle region

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Communities in Lower Shabelle region are set to benefit from medical supplies and consumables, following a donation that was handed to the African Union Mission troops working in Somalia, in a move geared towards improving the living standards of people across the Horn of Africa nation.

Saturday's donations to AMISOM were delivered by the US Civil Affairs Unit in Mogadishu and some of the donated items included antifungal, anthelmintics, antibiotics, antacids, analgesics, and an assortment of vitamins among others.

A gift to The World, an American non-profit organization, donated the supplies and were handed over by Captain Alan Goodman, of the US Civil Affairs Unit, to Colonel Ismail Sendagire, the AMISOM Sector l Air Defence Commander.

Col. Sendagire noted that the donation will improve primary health care for those in need, especially women and children and internally displaced persons, who are the major victims of Al-Shabaab menace, perennial floods, and endless inter-clan conflicts.

“AMISOM trusts that the donations will alleviate the problem of having to travel long distances for internally displaced persons and other vulnerable persons for them to receive health care," said the commander, who is in charge of sections of Lower Shebelle.

"This donation contains vital medical supplies for child welfare and general health care services," added Col. Sendagire, who represented the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission [SRCC] for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira at the function held in Mogadishu.

Col. Sendagire praised the US Army Civil Affairs Unit for channeling the donation by Gift to the World and called for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to support and embrace community-based initiatives so as to bring lasting peace to Somalia.

“The donation of the US Civil Affairs Medical Unit reflects our commitment to the partnership between the US and the African Union; its institutions, and AMISOM. And it is also given with optimism regarding the future, and our collective capacity to shape it for the better," he noted.

Lt. Col. Cyriaque Bikorimana, the AMISOM military Deputy Civil-Military Cooperation [CIMIC] officer, expressed gratitude for the donation and reiterated the importance of good civil-military relations in winning the hearts and minds of local communities.

“CIMIC has to coordinate activities between civilians and the army and support operations of the headquarters and the mission in general, so as to gain the support of the Somali population. We are not here only to fight but also to win hearts, in order to help Somalia get peace,” Lt. Col. Bikorimana explained.

The medical supplies will be distributed to the local communities in Lower Shabelle at a later date. The region is worst hit with endless Al-Shabaab attacks, some often targeting the security forces in the region, which is mainly manned by SNA troops and those from Uganda People's Defense Forces [UPDF].

Since 2008, the Ugandan troops have been instrumental in pushing for peace and stability in Somalia. The troops played a key role in flushing the Al-Shabaab militants out of Mogadishu, the notorious Somali capital, where Al-Shabaab had literally taken over before AMISOM's intervention.