The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) serving under African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), have launched groundwork for the construction of a Youth Recreation centre in the coastal town of Barawe.
The 400 by 300 metres Freedom square levelled ground lies astride the shores of the Indian Ocean East of Barawe town.
The multi-purpose Youth Recreation Centre will serve as a skilling centre, entertainment and environmental conservation. There will be a library, sports courts, a tailoring centre, youth offices and saloons.
The Barawe district youth leader, Mr. Zakaria Muhammod Muhammed expressed gratitude for ATMIS joining hands with the district administration to lay a foundation for the recreation centre.
He noted that the centre will go a long way to empowering the youth in promoting talents and fighting against ignorance. “Skilling young people is one way of fighting ignorance, eliminating redundancy, creating employment and preserving our heritage. We ask for speedy construction of this structure”, Zakaria said.
The district engineer, Mr. Sayid Ibrahim Adam thanked ATMIS forces for their contribution to pacifying Somalia.
He underscored the need to work together with ATMIS Engineers to fast-track the construction of the youth centre.
Meanwhile, the Battle Group XXXVIII Commander, Col Christopher Berochan, reiterated ATMIS’s unwavering support to the ongoing Somalia-led peace and stability process.
He called upon development partners to support the speedy construction of the youth recreation centre which is to contribute to the mindset change.
“Young people are vulnerable to Al-Shabaab propaganda recruitment. With this centre in place, it will empower them to determine what is right and wrong. Let us all support this effort,” remarked Col Berochan.
Before the collapse of Mohamed Siad Barre’s regime, Barawe freedom square ground used to be an economic hub for goods and travellers. When Al-Shabaab took over the town in the late 90s, the freedom square became a lucrative revenue collection point; especially from charcoal export to the Middle East countries.
In 2014, however, African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), captured the coastal town with all the charcoal stockpiles now prohibited by the Federal Government of Somalia.
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