Kampala- Uganda (PANA) -- A spokesman for the Ugandan contingent of the African Peacekeeping force in Somalia has dismissed as pure rumours reports that the contingent came coming under attack upon landing at Mogadishu airport on Tuesday.
Captain Paddy Ankunda told PANA today by telephone from Mogadishu that contingent of 300 was settling rather well and did not intend to “rush anything”.
He said more Ugandan troops are expected in Mogadishu, within the next few days to reinforce the first batch of 300 which arrived the East African war-torn country.
"We trying to settle in here and soon will be getting to do the job of helping our Somali brothers and sisters solve their problem peacefully," Ankunda told PANA on telephone from Mogadishu were the Ugandan troops are stationed.
He added: "More of my comrades have continued to fly since yesterday (Teusday), and our force is building up steadily.
" The first batch of 300 Ugandan troops left Uganda's Entebbe international airport aboard an Algerian military aircrafts, with two Antnovs carrying equipment such as battle car, and other supplies.
Ankunda revealed that the first task is to secure the airport and key government facilities to enable resumption of commercial flights and humanitarian flights to Mogadishu.
Another batch is to sail off the Kenyan port city of Mombasa with its equipment comprising of tanks, trucks, battle cars and artillery pieces, they shipped by rail last Friday.
According to State defence minister, Ruth Nankabirwa, the deployment of over 1,500 troops Uganda contributed to the AU mission is to be complete by mid March.
"Our troops are now in Somalia and their immediate task is to secure the airport in Mogadishu which will ensure safe landing of both military and civilian aircrafts," Nankabirwa told a news conference here on Tuesday.
"We hope to complete the deployment of two battalions by end of next week if everything goes as planned, and soon we will see other troops from other countries deploy, raising the number of the force substantially," she told Journalists.
Last week the Ugandan leader, Yoweri Museveni, flagged the troops with an appeal for them to exhibit discipline and good social behaviour, especially by refraining from sexual harassment of residents.
Museveni's appeal comes against the backdrop of accusations levied against Uganda troops, some of whom are known to have made babies and marry women while on foreign mission.
There are unconfirmed reports that Ugandan troops left over 700 babies in Liberia when they served there.
While on an illegal five-year occupation of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda soldiers engaged thousands of Congolese women, making babies with many who were later left behind unattended to.
Some Congolese women have since trekked to Uganda to trace and be rejoined with their soldering husbands in Uganda.