Thursday, December 24, 2015
Amisom Force Commander, Lt Gen Jonathan Rono, inspects a guard of honour mounted by the African Union soldiers before his departure on December 15, 2015. AMISOM PHOTO | ILYAS AHMED
The Force Commander of the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), Lt Gen Jonathan Rono, has completed his tour of duty in the horn of Africa country after 15 months of service.
Lt Gen Rono was seen off at Mogadishu Airport Wednesday by top Amisom officials from troop contributing countries, among them, Deputy Force Commander in-charge of Operations and Plans, Maj Gen Mohammedesha Zeyinu and Sector 1 Commander Brig Sam Okiding.
A guard of honour by Amisom troops was mounted in his honour to mark the end of his command of the 22,000-strong force in Somalia.
Earlier, at a related function, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC), Caetano Jose Madeira, thanked Lt Gen Rono for his diligence and dedication to service during his tour of duty in the Mission.
“I would like to thank you for your diligent service to the people of Somalia through your command at Amisom.
“It is because of this that Africa Union has awarded you a medal of honour, as a symbol to the world that you have served with valour,” said Mr Madeira in a message delivered on his behalf by Maj Gen Fidza Dludlu, the officer in charge of the Mission.
The SRCC described Gen Rono as a dedicated leader of outstanding performance, who has been instrumental in the execution of Amisom’s mandate, which is the establishment of a peaceful and stable Somalia.
Lt Gen Rono went to Somalia in September 2014 as a Deputy Force Commander in charge Support and Logistics.
He thereafter assumed the responsibility of Acting Force Commander after the then Force Commander, Lt Gen Silas Ntigurirwa left the mission upon completion of his tour of duty.
He served in acting capacity until April 2015, when he was promoted to Lieutenant General and appointed Amisom Force Commander.
Maj Gen Dludlu said under Lt Gen Rono’s leadership of Amisom troops, Somalia now has improved levels of security, despite the many challenges faced.
As a result, Somalia has seen an increase in the number of visitors and also businesses have begun to pick up.
On his part, Lt Gen Rono attributed his achievements to support from the Federal Government of Somalia and the team spirit by all players in the Mission.
“Without the cooperation we have cultivated among ourselves in this mission over time, it would have been very difficult to achieve our objectives. I want to register my gratitude for the support that I have received from the government, United Nations, Africa Union, mission headquarters and our partners, who have consistently supported and worked closely with us. Without your participation, my tenure here would have been fraught with difficulty,” Lt Gen Rono said.
He further added that he was leaving Somalia optimistic that Al-Shabaab and other enemies of Somalia will soon be defeated, giving the country an opportunity to return to its rightful place in the family of nations.
Amisom is an active regional support mission set up by the Peace and Security Council of the African Union with the full support of the United Nations.
The principal aim of the mission is to provide support for the Federal Government of Somalia in its efforts to stabilise the country and foster political dialogue and reconciliation.