Court Martial issues arrest warrant against Kabaziguruka

By Sania Babirye

A warrant of arrest has been issued against the troubled Nakawa municipality MP Micheal Kabaziguruka.

The arrest warrant has been issued by the seven member team court siting in Makindye chaired by Lt.Gen Andrew Gutti after Hon.Kabaziguruka allegedly failed to turn up in the general court martial to take plea to charges related to treachery and security of the country.

According to Maj. Raphael Mugisha the UPDF lead prosecutor, Kabaziguruka has refused to appear in court for mention of his case since he was granted bail.

Maj. Mugisha told court that although Hon.Kabaziguruka secured an Interim order in the constitution court against his trial in the army court, the order had since lapsed after the same court annulled Injunction orders issued by a single judge.

The prosecutor says that following that development Hon.Kabaziguruka can no longer use the expired order as a defense not to appear in court.

Major Mugisha has now asked court to order military police to arrest Kabaziguruka saying that on two occasions the MP has been summoned and personally telephoned to appear in court but all in vain.

Maj. Mugisha has also told court that investigations into the case are complete against Kabaziguruka and 25 others but Hearing cannot start in the absence of one accused person.

In October 2016 high court Justice Yasin Nyanzi granted a 10 million non cash bond to the MP while his four sureties including FDC party president Gen Mugisha Muntu, Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, Hon. Moses Kasibante and Hon.Ibrahim Ssemuju were ordered to pay a 100 million non cash bond after being on remand at Kigo prison since June 2016.

Kabaziguruka is charged together with other 25 people including UPDF officers for allegedly contriving a plot to infiltrate defense forces and prejudice it’s security to overthrow the government of Uganda by use of firearms .

The offenses were allegedly committed between February and June 2016 in districts of Kampala,Wakiso and Luweero.

UPDF soldiers accused of sexual harassment in CAR

A contingent of the Ugandan army returning from Central African Republic (CAR) are being accused of having sexually exploited or abused at least 13 women and girls since 2015.

A report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) says at least one rape was registered. In a statement issued by its Nairobi office, HRW says it interviewed 13 women and 3 girls early this year.

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers had been deployed in CAR  since 2009 as part of the African Union’s Regional Task Force to eliminate the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels.

On April 19th this year, the Ministry of Defence announced the withdrawal of UPDF troops from CAR, saying the mission to neutralise the LRA had been successfully achieved.

The women and girls claimed the abuse by Ugandan soldiers has been on since 2010 in the southeastern town of Obo, where Ugandan forces were based.

Lewis Mudge, Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch says as counter-LRA operations wind down, the UPDF should not ignore allegations of sexual exploitation and rape by its soldiers in the Central African Republic.

He wants Ugandan and African Union authorities to conduct proper investigations, punish those responsible, and make sure that the women and girls who were sexually abused or exploited get the services they need.

Fifteen of the women and girls interviewed according to HRW said they became pregnant. It says in each case the soldier who fathered the child left the country and has not provided any support.

The report says in the Central African Republic women and girls often do not report sexual violence or exploitation due to shame, stigma, or fear of retaliation.

In 2016, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reported 14 cases of rape by Ugandan forces in CAR, including cases involving victims who were children at the time.

HRW says it has an internal UN report in which UN investigators in Obo registered 18 cases of sexual violence or harassment by Ugandan soldiers against women and girls.

According to HRW, investigators also obtained information about 44 women and girls with children fathered by UPDF soldiers.

Human Rights Watch says it contacted the the Ugandan Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs about the allegations but the ministry has yet to reply.

Several women and girls told Human Rights Watch that Ugandan military investigators had interviewed them over the past year, but that there was no follow-up and they had no information about the investigation.

UPDF Spokesman, Brigadier Richard Karemire, could not be reached for comment. But the
This is not the first time that UPDF troops deployed outside the country are being accused of sexually exploiting women and girls near their bases.

In 2014, HRW said Ugandan and Burundian military personnel from the AU mission in Somalia had exploited and abused women, including raping those who were seeking water or medical assistance on AMISOM bases.

In 2000 UPDF soldiers returning from neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are said to have fathered over two thousand children. Some of the women later followed their UPDF “husbands” to Uganda.

Victims speak out

Seven women and one girl said they knew the name of the Ugandan soldier who had paid them for sex, but the others did not. None of the 15 who had a child as a result of the exploitation knew how to contact the soldier who had abandoned them.

“Claire,” 25, said that when she was six months pregnant, the Ugandan soldier who had impregnated her told her he was leaving the following day. “He refused to give me his number in Uganda,” she said. “When I insisted he said, ‘What for? You are just going to call and bother me.'”
“Margaret” said that the Ugandan father of her child, born in early 2015, refused to give her his phone number in Uganda. “No, the child is my gift to you,” she said he told her. “It will be a souvenir to remember me by.”

Six women and girls said Ugandan military personnel had promised to take them to Uganda for a better life in exchange for acting as a soldier’s “wife.”

A 25-year-old mother of a child from a Ugandan soldier, “Claude,” said a Ugandan soldier convinced her to become his “wife” in 2014. “He said he would marry me and take me to Uganda if I accepted to be his ‘wife,'” she said. “He said he would give me what I wanted and needed as his ‘wife,’ so I accepted.”

“Rebecca,” 22, said she agreed to be a Ugandan soldier’s “wife” when she was 17. “He fooled me and he said he would take me to Uganda as his own wife – I believed him,” she said. “I was young and stupid. We were together for a year. Sometimes he would come to the house, sometimes I would go to the base.” “Rebecca” had a child with the soldier when she was still 17.

A 21-year-old woman, “Alphonsine,” said a Ugandan soldier promised her money, food, and a home in Uganda. Over the course of five years, they had two children together. He abandoned her and the children in November 2015, when he returned to Uganda. “I think about my situation and how I was fooled,” she said. “Now it is very difficult for me to find money for food and soap.”

30-year-old “Jeanette,” who had a child from a Ugandan soldier in 2015, said she had sex with him because she needed money and food. “Now I need more money and food because I have to feed and clothe this child, too.”

 

 

 

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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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