The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) held a medal parade for the outgoing Ethiopian peacekeepers in Baidoa, Somalia over the weekend. The occasion honored the force for its contribution to the peace process in Somalia over the previous fifteen months.
The ceremony was attended by the President of the Interim South West Administration, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan and the Director of the United Nations Support Office for the African Union Mission in Somalia, UNSOA, Amadu Kamara as well as officials from AMISOM, the Somalia military, the United Nations and other donors. A statement issued by AMISOM noted that the Ethiopian contingent had begun their tour of duty in January 2014 and had contributed immensely to the peace and tranquility now experienced in the Bay, Bakool and Gedo regions.
The ceremony included a parade as well as poetry and story telling of the soldiers’ experiences. The statement said the troops “spoke about their love for Somalia and its people and their commitment to see the peace process through.” AMISOM’s statement also noted that the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) troops had played tremendous role in dealing with political disputes and rivalries in this area, Sector 3; in bringing together political and religious leaders, clan elders, and other stakeholders to give peace a chance; as well as extending support to the formation of the Interim South West Administration.
AMISOM Sector 3 commander, Brigadier General Gabremedhin Fikadu, speaking at the ceremony, extended his thanks to the AU, the UN and international community for their support to the soldiers during their tour of duty. Brigadier General Fikadu, who congratulated his troops for the successful completion of their tour of duty in Somalia, stressed that the incoming contingent would exhibit the same discipline and professionalism as their comrades had shown. Brigadier General Fikadu also requested the new arrivals to maintain the same standards of neutrality expected of AMISOM peacekeepers.
UNSOA Director, Amadu Kamara, described the Ethiopian soldiers as “some of the bravest he had come across,” and appreciated their efforts in liberating nine areas under Operation Eagle and Operation Indian Ocean, a task they had carried out in collaboration with the Somalia National Army. President Sharif Hassan, who expressed his thanks to AMISOM for supporting the Federal Government of Somalia and the people of Somalia in securing the country, restoring peace and enhancing growth development, said there was 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”.