UPDF WITHDRAWS FROM THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

By Moses Kidandi

The UPDF has begun withdrawing from the Central Africa Republic where it has since 2012 been part of the African Union Regional Task Force.

The first batch has been received this morning in Gulu by the Chief of Staff Land Forces (COS-LF) Brig Katsigazi Tumusiime and 4Div Commander Brig Emmanuel Kanyesigye.

Brig Katsigazi says the decision to withdraw was premised on the realization that the mission to neutralize the LRA has now been successfully achieved.

He says the UPDF operations have contributed significantly to the restoration of peace and tranquility in big areas of the Central Africa Republic (CAR).

Photo Credit: Uganda Radio Network

Soldier to sue UPDF for unlawful discharge

By Sania Babirye
A Uganda People’s Defense Forces soldier has vowed to sue the army for unlawful and wrongful discharge from the force which he says he has served for 18 years with a clean record. Major Ronald Iduuli is also seeking a compensation of 1.2 billion shillings as damages after top army bosses illegally dismissed him from the position of defense counsel at General Court Martial sending him on forced leave which contravened the UPDF act.
Iduuli says the two processes violated the constitution since he was dismissed from the office of defense counsel without any instrument from the president (Commander in chief) who appointed him or CDF undermined Article 98 (1) of constitution.
The  forced retirement contravened section 20 (3) (f) of the UPDF Act which mandates only commissions board with powers to retire officers who have applied  be retired, but for his case he had never applied .

Multi million army hospital helping to save civilian lives in Bombo commissioned

President Yoweri has hailed the UPDF leadership for using their own human resource to build infrastructure and save money through strengthening the health care capacity among the security forces.

The President who was en-route to Apac District to preside over Tarehe Sita celebrations, made a stop-over at Bombo Military Barracks where he commissioned the newly built UPDF Officers’ Wing and Intensive Care Unit.

The 25-bed capacity facility consists of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), maternity and delivery room, general ward as and a VIP suite. Construction of the medical facility cost 925million Shillings, while the medical equipment cost another 723 million Shillings, According to Col Bekunda Besigye, the Deputy Commander of the UPDF Engineering Brigade.

Brig Dr Ambrose Musinguzi, the UPDF Chief of Medical Services says that 70 percent of the patients at the facility are civilians who are offered services at no cost.

President Museveni commended the work of the two core groups, the medical team and the Engineering Brigade which he said has greatly reduced on the cost of construction done by hired contractors.

He said the facility will help the institution in treating and handling their own patients in privacy without ‘advertising’, but also serve the local community.

“You have done well. You have done it yourselves and you will examine and treat our soldiers. You should continue to cover more areas of the body to handle issues of cancers, kidneys, Urinary tract diseases and heart diseases among others,” he said.

Defense Minister, Hon Adolf Mwesige said the hospital was an important facility for the UPDF and for the country and that it will foster harmony and understanding between the military and civilians including through activities such as extending free medical care, responding to epidemics and disasters.

 

 

 

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Gen Katumba asks Somalia to work on building their security apparatus

The Chief of Defence Forces General Edward Katumba Wamala wants Somali leaders to fast-track implementation of security sector reforms and the rebuilding of the national army.

He says this would enable them to effectively take over the country’s security from African Union troops. Gen Katumba made the statement upon his arrival in Mogadishu, Somalia on Monday, for a three-day official visit.

“As you interact politically with whoever will take the chair, this should be among their priority area; to make sure that they address the issue of building their security apparatus,” he told a meeting of senior officials from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

The Somali security sector reforms which are in line with AMISOM’s revised Concept of Operations (CONOPs) and its exit strategy are aimed at building the capacity of Somali National Security Forces to take over the security of the country, when AMISOM troops begin drawing down in 2018.

Gen Wamala praised the implementation of the quick-impact projects (QUIPs) by AMISOM, describing it is a big asset for the mission in its efforts to provide essential services to populations liberated from Al-Shabaab rule.

Lt. Gen. Osman Noor Soubagleh, the AMISOM Force Commander said AMISOM troops continue to jointly conduct offensive and defensive operations aimed at improving the security situation in Somalia.

“The security situation in Mogadishu city has improved significantly, the city being a strategic value for the seat of power, with a high population density, good infrastructure and good for political and economic activities. Therefore the center of gravity plays an important role for the stabilization of Somalia,” Lt. Gen. Soubagleh said.

Gen. Wamala also held a meeting with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Somalia, Michael Keating.

During the meeting, Lydia Wanyoto, the Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) updated Gen Wamala on the ongoing electoral process in the country and the security arrangements in place to ensure a smooth transition of power.

“We are doing everything it takes to ensure that we give the support and that our offices are open 24/7 for supporting the troops for which your country contributes,” Hon. Wanyoto stated.

Earlier, military officers from AMISOM Sector One, briefed Gen Wamala on the security situation in Lower Shabelle and Banaadir regions, which fall under the AMISOM Ugandan contingent’s area of responsibility.

 

 

 

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Females rejected at the first stage of UPDF recruitment

Females in the Greater Luweero region have failed tests to join Uganda People’s Defence Forces – UPDF.

The recruitment exercise for the districts of Nakasongola, Luweero and Nakaseke, held at Kasana playground, Sunday, attracted 520 applicants. However, only 58 male applicants were successful.

Colonel David Isimbwa, the head of the recruitment exercise in the region said that very few females applied to join the army but they were all rejected at the first stage of verification because of lack of authentic academic papers, being above the required age bracket while a few others were overqualified.

Recruits were required to possess the Uganda Certificate of Education completed in  2014 or 2015, aged between 18-25 and have a clean bill of health.

However, area leaders and a number of female applicants were furious and accused UPDF of not being transparent in the exercise.

Some of the females who were unsuccessful insisted that they had all the required qualifications but were maliciously left out.

Janet Namwanje, one of the applicants, questions how other girls will be encouraged to join the army when the few who try are discouraged and rejected under unclear circumstances.

Nakasongola County MP Noah Mutebi equally accused the recruitment officers of nepotism and bias.
 

 

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UPDF is considering pulling out of Somalia

By Alice Lubwama

The Uganda People’s Defense Force-UPDF   is considering pulling out its troops from Somalia after the European Union scrapped off their support by 20%.

The European Union which has been financing the UPDF Somalia will start deducting 200 dollars from every serving soldier on the foreign mission to cater for administrative issues.

The Chief of Defense Forces General Katumba Wamala has told members of on the Foreign Affairs Committee that they cannot continue operating in Somalia without enough funds.

Photo: hecarethforyou.blogspot.com

UPDF officer escapes from police

By Robert Ssegawa

A  UPDF captain suspected of robbing a vehicle from local artists Irene Namatovu and Geofery Lutaaya has escaped from police custody.

Katonga region police spokesman Phillip Mukasa says Captain James Lukwago escaped from Mpigi police station where he had been detained.

Mukasa says police has mounted a search to re arrest the suspect.

Photo: www.newvision.co.ug

Sam Mugumya and six other face court Martial in DRC today

Plans are underway to arraign seven Ugandans currently detained in a prison in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) before the General Court Martial, Security Minister Lt General Henry Tumukunde says.

Among them is Sam Mugumya, a member of the opposition Forum for Democratic Chang- FDC party whom Government says was engaged in subversive activities in Eastern DRC. He was allegedly arrested in possession of sensitive security documents.

The others Aggrey Kamukama, Steven Mugisha, Nathan Bright and Joseph Kamugisha, who have been detained in Eastern DRC since 2014. They are among several Ugandans who are reportedly accused of  conducting a rebellion in the DRC territory.
While Lt General Tumukunde, did not give details on when and where they will be charged from, he told Parliament on Thursday evening that government is awaiting communication from DRC on the process and will provide legal services to them.

The Minister made a statement in response to concerns raised by opposition MPs last week calling for the release of Ugandans detained in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It is estimated that over 300 Ugandans are languishing in different prisons within the DRC. Majority are being held on ground of involvement in rebel activities.  Many of them have been linked to the Allied Democratic Forces-ADF, a rebel group that has been fighting the Ugandan government for years.
However, Tumukunde’s statement was met with dissatisfaction from Shadow Minister of Justice Medard Seggona, who questioned why the Ugandan government had not engaged the DRC administration for details on when Ugandan nationals will be formally charged.

Ndorwa East MP, Wilfred Niwagaba who doubles as Shadow Attorney General added that last week, two Ugandan intelligence officers were also arrested in DR Congo but were later released following intervention from government. He questioned why government could not do the same for other nationals.

In response, Tumukunde asked for more time to consult with government and make a comprehensive response on the matter.

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Col .Kulayigye suspended over gold scandal

The Uganda Peoples Defence Forces–UPDF–has suspended one of its senior officers, Colonel  Felix Kulayigye over his alleged involvement in a gold scandal.

The UPDF spokesman Paddy Ankunda says Kulayigye has been suspended from the office of Chief Political Commissar.

Ankunda tweeted Wednesday evening that he had received many calls about the fate of  Colonel Kulayigye adding that he has been suspended pending further inquiries about his conduct in the issue of gold business.

Ankunda however notes that the suspension will only affect his office as chief political commissar and not as representative of the UPDF in parliament.

“However, Colonel Kulayigye remains in parliament as a UPDF representative despite the suspension” Ankuda stated.
Kulayigye, himself a former army spokesperson, is one of the 10 officers representing UPDF in the 10th Parliament.

Ankunda states that Kulayigye’s suspension will hold until matters related to his involvement are fully investigated.

In June this year, Col Kulayigye’s name came onto the spotlight when he allegedly kidnapped employees of Matrich Holdings Limited, a private company and ransacked its premises after a gold transaction went bad.
Matrich Holdings Limited deals in minerals. Richard Kamugisha, the managing director of the company accused Kulayigye of kidnapping company staff and looting its property.

 

 

 

 

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Today is the pretrial of Thomas Kwoyelo

By Gloria Nakiyimba

The Pre trial of Thomas Kwoyelo was yesterday adjourned to Tuesday 16th August after defense lawyers were a no show at court.

The International Crimes Division (ICD) of the High Court of Uganda commenced the pre-trial of at the Gulu High Court.

Appearing before high court Judge Suzan Okalanyi, Kwoyelo a former combatant in the Lord’s Resistance Army said he wanted his case heard and justice served.

He is facing charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Suzan Alupo a Transition Justice lawyer with the Refugee Law Project says the case was adjourned because defense lawyers Caleb Alaka and Nicholas Opio were not in court.

The Prosecution was led by counsel Charles Kamuli assisted by Willam Byansi and Florence Akello. Kwoyelo’s trial was halted in 2011 following a Constitutional Court ruling that he was entitled to amnesty under Uganda’s Amnesty Act 2000.

Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) Colonel Thomas Kwoyelo is assisted by Ugandan army upon arrival at Entebbe air force base March 4, 2009. Ugandan troops captured Kwoyelo, a senior rebel officer who is the highest ranking prisoner taken in a controversial offensive against guerrillas in Democratic Republic of Congo. Kwoyelo arrived in Uganda by plane on Wednesday, barefoot and nursing bullet wounds to his stomach. REUTERS/James Akena (UGANDA)
Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) Colonel Thomas Kwoyelo is assisted by Ugandan army upon arrival at Entebbe air force base March 4, 2009. Ugandan troops captured Kwoyelo, a senior rebel officer who is the highest ranking prisoner taken in a controversial offensive against guerrillas in Democratic Republic of Congo. Kwoyelo arrived in Uganda by plane on Wednesday, barefoot and nursing bullet wounds to his stomach. REUTERS/James Akena (UGANDA)

 

But Attorney General appealed this decision and in April, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that Kwoyelo’s trial is constitutional and does not violate the provisions of the Amnesty Act.

He was arrested by the UPDF in 2008. Refugee Law Project has set up an overflow facility to enable the victims and general public to attend and observe the court sessions.

RLP will also facilitate victims’ representatives from the ICD investigation sites to attend and participate in the pre-trial, as well as documenting the court proceedings.

Photos:  www.hrw.org www.enoughproject.org