Brig Lokech returns to Somalia as UPDF contingent commander

The army 2nd Division commander, Brig Paul Lokech has been appointed as the new commander of the UPDF contingent in Somalia.

Brig Lokech replaces Brig Muhanga Kayanja who has been in charge of the force in the fragile country since November last year.

Defence and Army Spokesperson, Brig Richard Karemire said Col Fred Kalala who has been Brig Lokech’s deputy takes over as the acting Western Division commander as the army searches for possible replacement.

“No person has been appointed to take over as commander for Western Division as of now but Brig Lokech’s deputy Col Fred Kalala will be in charge in the meantime,” Brig Karemire said.

Brig Lokech took over from Brig Muhanga on in Somalia on Tuesday Somalia.

Asked about Brig Muhanga’s destination, the army spokesperson said he would be going on leave.

“He hasn’t been assigned because he will first go on leave,” Brig Karemire said. Unconfirmed reports had claimed that Brig Muhanga had been appointed to replace Brig Lokech.

Brig Paul Lokech, a former defence attaché to Russia was among the first contingent commanders in Somalia and he is credited for liberating a number of strategic areas.

UPDF has over 6,000 soldiers in Somalia who serve under AMISOM. The troops are regularly swapped.

The Special African Union representative, Amb Francisco Madeira, recently said, Somali National Army and Somali National Police would by October next year be in position to handle their security responsibilities.