Ugandan President Yuweri Museveni on Sunday paid a brief visit to Mogadishu where thousands of his forces are serving in the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) as peacekeepers.
The Ugandan leader met Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh, Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo and Cabinet members at Mogadishu’s International Airport.
The Ugandan leader later toured camps of Amisom peacekeepers in Mogadishu and held discussions with mission commanders.
The visit was apparently kept secret and the area surrounding the airport was under tight security.
Being his first visit to Somalia, President Museveni spent several hours with the country's leaders before flying back to Uganda.
Museveni is the second East African leader to visit the war-torn country after Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in 2007.
At that time, Ethiopia had troops in Somalia lending support to the Transitional Federal Government.
Museveni’s visit is considered a moral boost to Ugandan troops who have been facing attacks from Islamist insurgents, namely Al-Shabaab and Hizbu Islam loyalists.
Although the media was kept in the dark, sources said the president praised the AU peacekeepers for their courage in helping the Somali government extend its control throughout the country.
He was accompanied by First Lady Janet Museveni.
So far, no source has disclosed details of the talks between Museveni and Somali government leaders.