Send-off ceremony for outgoing Ethiopian peacekeepers
The African Union Mission in Somalia on Saturday held a medal parade for the outgoing Ethiopian peacekeepers in Baidoa, Somalia, to honor them for their contribution to the peace process in the country for the past fifteen months.
A military medal parade is a prestigious ceremony that appreciates exemplary contributions of contingents and individual soldiers in the execution of the AMISOM mandate during their tour of duty.
The Ethiopian contingent started their tour of duty in January 2014 and has contributed immensely to the peace and tranquility being experienced throughout Bay, Bakool and Gedo regions in southwest Somalia. The regions fall under sector 3 of the AMISOM contingent.
It was a colourful ceremony marked by parade displays, poetry and story telling reminiscing about their experiences. They spoke about their love for Somalia and its people and their commitment to see the peace process through. The ceremony was presided over by the President of the Interim South West Administration H.E. Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan and the Director of the United Nations Support Office for the African Union Mission in Somalia, UNSOA, Amadu Kamara and attended by officials from AMISOM, Somalia military, the United Nations and other donors.
During their tour of duty, the ENDF troops were able to quell political disputes and rivalry in sector 3 and their efforts brought together leaders, clan elders, religious leaders and various stakeholders to talk peace. They were also instrumental in the formation of the Interim South West Administration (ISWA).
Giving a keynote speech at the medal award ceremony, AMISOM Sector 3 commander, Brig. General Gabremedhin Fikadu expressed his gratitude to the AU, UN and international community for their unflinching support during their tour of duty. He also congratulated his troops for the successful completion of their tour of duty in Somalia.
Brig. General Fikadu called upon the incoming contingent to display the same discipline and professionalism their comrades had shown. He asked them to maintain the same standards of neutrality expected of AMISOM peacekeepers.
On his part, the UNSOA Director described the Ethiopian Soldiers are some of the bravest he had come across. He commended the soldiers for liberating nine areas under Operation Eagle and Operation Indian Ocean, a task they undertook in collaboration with Somalia National Army (SNA).
In his keynote address, the President of the Interim South West Authority Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan thanked AMISOM for supporting the Federal Government of Somalia and the people of Somalia in securing the country, restoring peace and enhancing growth development.
“It is important for Africa to solve its own problems and for the rest of the world to give support whenever called upon. We hope the Al Shabaab menace will be wiped from our land”, the President said.
He added, “There is nothing more expensive in the world than someone shedding his blood for you. In the past over one year the magnitude of what you have done for us cannot be quantified. God bless you”.