New AMISOM force commander takes office, vows to stabilize Somalia

A new Force Commander of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) assumed office on Wednesday and pledged to enhance security across the Horn of Africa nation.

A statement from the AU mission said Jim Beesigye Owoyesigire took over from Osman Noor Soubagleh, who has been in office since July 2016.

Owoyesigire pledged to continue with the work already started, especially with capacity building of the Somali National Army (SNA).

“All of us here have one problem, and that is Al-Shabaab. We don’t have to collocate with Al-Shabaab. We need to fight him, break his backbone and then finally eradicate him. That’s my goal and I will achieve it,” Owoyesigire said.

His priorities include overseeing a seamless, gradual and conditions-based transition and transfer of the security responsibility from AMISOM, to the Somali security forces, and destroying the remaining pockets of the Al-Qaida affiliated Al-Shabaab militants.

With 39-year experience in the military, Owoyesigire brings to the Force vast knowledge in Field Artillery and Air Defence, having served the Ugandan military as Air Force Commander and Division Commander – Field Artillery Division, among other capacities.

“In my career, I have never withdrawn from the battlefield for the last 39 years and I like training; which am going to do with the Somali National Army, operate with them and when times comes, for the transition to handover the power, I will do that,” he said.

Owoyesigire holds two Masters degrees, in defense and strategic studies and in religion, peace and conflict resolution.