MOGADISHU, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said it has awarded medals to 19 staff officers for their contribution to the restoration of peace and security in Somalia.
Tigabu Yilma Wondimhunegn, AMISOM force commander, said the troops who are in Somalia have conducted and degraded the al-Shabab terror group which has engaged the government and AU troops in several terror attacks across the country.
"These results are one of your efforts. Your efforts have implemented our operations. These medals are a footprint of your sacrifice. AMISOM's success is because of your success," Yilma said in a statement issued by AMISOM on Monday evening, noting that without the officers' support, recent operations against terrorists would not have succeeded.
The AMISOM official commended who were awarded medals from countries including Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda for the dedication and selfless service to AMISOM.
He also hailed the officers for their support to efforts aimed at degrading terrorist groups, securing main supply routes and population centers in Somalia.
This year, Yilma said, Somali security forces backed by AMISOM liberated the strategic towns of Sabiid Anole, Bariire, El-Salini, and Awdheegle, all in Lower Shabelle region of Somalia.
Charles Imbiakha, AMISOM Force spokesperson, who was a medal recipient, said each officers' role was integral to the success.
He said the work of staff officers within AMISOM is a very important task that leads to the actualization of operations in the various sectors.
"Staff officers support the actualization of AMISOM operations. It is a significant day for staff officers who have contributed to Somalia's peace process. We hope to see Somali security forces take over their country's security responsibilities ahead of AMISOM's exit," Imbiakha said.
"This, therefore, marks a very significant day in the life of staff officers who have contributed immensely to what is happening all over Somalia in the peace process," Imbiakha added.
Under the Somalia Transition Plan, AMISOM is implementing a conditions-based reduction of troops and gradually transferring security responsibilities to Somali security forces ahead of the envisage exit from Somalia in 2021.