The outgoing Force Commander of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Lt. Gen. Osman Noor Soubagleh was today feted by the Federal Government of Somalia for his valuable contribution in the ongoing stabilization process in the Horn of Africa country.

Lt. Gen. Soubagleh, who completed his tour of duty last month, was hosted to a luncheon in Mogadishu by top Somali National Security Forces (SNSF) officers who praised his contribution in pacifying and stabilizing the Horn of Africa country.

The luncheon was attended by top Federal Government of Somalia officials, among them, the Minister of Defence, Ambassador Mohamed Mursal Sheikh Abdirahman; State Minister of Defence, Mohamed Ali Haga, and the Somali National Army Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Maj. Gen. Abdiweli Jamaa Hussein. Also in attendance were senior AMISOM officials and members of the diplomatic corps.

Gen. Soubagleh from Djibouti, who recently handed over office to Lt. Gen. Jim Owoyesigire, has been the AU Force Commander since July 2016, and has been instrumental in improving cooperation between AMISOM and SNA in the fight against Al-Shabaab.

Speaking at the luncheon, Mr. Abdirahman paid glowing tribute to the African Union and the international community for their efforts in pacifying and stabilizing Somalia.

“We know you have sacrificed and your target is for Somalia to become stable and secure and for that we always recognize your efforts and that of the international community who have always stood by the Somali people,” he noted.

The Minister said Somalia had been in conflict for more than two decades, adding that the international community had always supported the people of Somalia.

For his part the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, described Gen. Soubagleh as a hard worker who has achieved a lot for AMISOM, adding that the decision by the Federal Government to honour the outgoing Force Commander was testimony to the existing good relations between the African Union and Somalia.

“I want to thank all of you and the Government of the Federal Republic of Somalia for organizing this lunch in honor of Gen. Soubagleh and to welcome Gen. Jim Beesigye, our new Force Commander. This is a demonstration of the ties of friendship and solidarity that exists between Somalia and the African Union and between Somalia an AMISOM,” the SRCC observed.

“Our immediate concern is to see that the support, friendship, and openness that Somalia and its Government; its military and security institutions bestowed on Gen. Soubagleh, is also transferred to Gen. Jim Beesigye,” Ambassador Madeira observed.

Maj Gen. Hussein spoke highly of Gen. Soubagleh, noting that in the short time they had worked together, he had seen a professional, committed and trusted soldier whose aim was to see a peaceful and stable Somalia.

“I saw him not only as the African Union Force Commander but also as a Somali brother who I could trust because of the things he was doing for the SNA. If it were within our means, we would ask him to stay,” he added.

Senator Naimo Ibrahim Yusuf, who thanked Lt. Gen. Soubagleh on behalf of Somali women, described him as a simple and easily accessible person, adding that the outgoing Force Commander will leave an indelible mark in Somalia.

“Gen. Soubagleh did a lot of good things for Somalia and will be remembered in history. I appreciate your efforts to build the SNA and the Somali people. Your open door policy made you easily accessible and easy to cooperate with,” Ms. Yusuf stated.