US Marines donate equipment to UPDF

By Gloria Nakiyimba
The US Marines have donated equipment to the UPDF to complete engineering projects and enable more effective crisis response in the area. The equipment includes: 30 Mercedes trucks with parts for maintenance, two CAT bulldozers, three M-35 2.5 ton trucks, one Rough Terrain Container Handler, and medical and communications equipment
These were being used by the Marines, and Sailors with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa, while training UPDF soldiers at Jinja camp from for two months from March to June this year.
The US TSC team was led by  1st Lt. James Hubler who noted that their mission was to train the UPDF soldiers in US army areas of expertise.
“With this new capability, the UPDF will be able to better serve their people,” Hubler said
The Ugandan troops were trained in seven main operational areas.  That is motor transport operations, maintenance, communications, supply, civil engineering, heavy equipment operations, and utilities management.
The Ugandan soldiers were excellent students and it was easy to see how much they truly care about serving their country. They will walk away from the training with valuable experience they will use to keep their home secure and to conduct peacekeeping operations abroad, which enhances security and stability in the region.” Said 1st Lt. Hubler
According to a statement issued by the US Embassy in Kampala, the Theater Security Cooperation mission is meant to strengthen ties between the people of the United States and Uganda. The
 “Our training with the equipment they will now be using enabled a train-the-trainer mindset that will be a catalyst for future interoperability and security for the region” he added

Army court orders CMI to handle case of Rwandese Nationals kidnap

By Sania Babirye
The army court sitting in Makindye has ordered the Chieftaincy  Military intelligence (CMI) to  expidite investigations in a case in which  Seven police officers are charged with  the Kidnap of 2 Rwandese nationals . Joel Mutabazi and Jackson Kaleemera and unlawful possession of firearms.

This is after prosecution led by Maj.Rapheal Mugisha informed the seven member court chaired by Lt.Gen.Andrew Gutti that he was not able to summon any witnesses in court today since the case file is still with CMI who are still carrying out cross boader investigations.

Now the case has been adjourned to the 5th of June 2018 and the suspects remanded to Luzira and Makindye Military barracks were they have been for the past 9 months.

The seven police officers  include; SPC Joel Aguma,  SSP Nixon Agasirwe Karuhanga, D/ASP James Magada, D/AIP Benon Atwebembeirwe, D/Sgt Abel Tumukunde , SPC Faisal Katende and D/CPL Amon Kwarisima.

These  are  jointly charged with 2 civilians including  a Rwandese national; Rene  Rutangugira and a Congolese  national Bahati Mugenga Pacifique.

Prosecution  led by Maj. Rapheal Mugisha states that on the 25th/October 2013 at Kamengo in Mpigi district, while the accused where in unlawful possession of firearms and grenades which are ordinarily and  a monopoly  of only the UPDF, they  conveyed  Mutabazi and Kaleemera   to  the Republic of  Rwanda without their consent.

Prosecution further  states that on the 24th /October  2017 at Najeera within Kiira division in Wakiso district , the 7 police officers together with 2 civillians were found in unlawful possession of 4 grenades which are ordinarily a monopoly of the UPDF.

UPDF evicts herdsmen off oil refinery land

Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF has taken control of the oil refinery land in Kabaale parish Buseruka Sub County in Hoima district.
It follows a directive by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to the army to take immediate control of the oil.   The Hoima Resident District Commissioner, John Stephen Ekoom, says UPDF has deployed a battalion at Nyahaira primary school to avert further encroachment on the oil refinery land by herdsmen and cultivators.
Last week, security operatives forcefully evicted a group of herdsmen and cultivators from the oil refinery land following the expiry of the ultimatum issued to them to vacate voluntarily in vain.

According to Ekoom, UPDF will conduct routine patrols on the oil refinery land and pick up whoever is found trespassing.

Government acquired the 29 square miles of the oil refinery land in 2012 to pave way for the construction works.
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UPDF should stop lying to Ugandans on Somali troop deaths :Gilbert Oulanya

By Edwin Muhumuza

The recent information from the UPDF Spokesman ,Brig Karemire Richard, that only four UPDF Soldiers were killed in Somalia has raised suspicion , as to what extent  the nation should trust information coming from his desk.

President Yoweri Museveni has revealed that eight soldiers died following an al-shabaab attack in Somalia on Easter Sunday contradicting what the UPDF spokesperson Brigadier Richard Karemire had said .

Now Kilak county MP Gilbert Oulanya says it is not worth a penny in hiding true figures of soldiers who were killed owing to the fact that Ugandans will count the bodies as they arrive at the airport.

Oulanya who is also the Shadow minister of defense and security, has called for the gradual withdrawal of UPDF soldiers from Somalia  saying government should begin reconsidering handing over Somali security to Somalis and cannot continue sacrificing amid challenges, notwithstanding the refusal by the African Union to compensate Uganda for the loss of its military helicopters  among other losses.

Museveni says only 8 soldiers were killed in Somalia attack on AMISOM base

President Yoweri Museveni has revealed that eight Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers died following an Alshabab attack in Somalia on Easter Sunday.

The revelation contradicts what the UPDF Spokesperson Brigadier Richard Karemire had said that four soldiers had died in a statement issued on Sunday evening.

The president explained that two vehicles of the enemy force entered one of the three sites attacked. “One vehicle was detonated and killed eight of our soldiers. May their souls rest in eternal peace. I extend condolences to their families.”

The President, using his official Twitter handle @KagutaMuseveni, also said the UPDF had killed 36 al-shabaab militants contrary to the 22 stated by the UPDF spokesperson in Kampala and 30 as stated by the UPDF spokesperson in Somalia, Ceaser Olweny.

The Alshabab raided the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) base at Quoryole, Bulomareer and Golwein in Lower Shabelle region in Somalia.

Buulo Mareer is located some 130 kilometres southwest of the capital Mogadishu.

Eight vehicles including two vehicle born improvised explosives were destroyed by AMISOM forces.

President Museveni praised the army for foiling what he called “the bold but adventurous strategy of Al-Shabaab.”  He said the AMISOM force was alert, the reason they managed to repulse the enemy.

“With constant vigilance, victory is assured. I congratulate our soldiers for the good work they did yesterday, the death of eight of our soldiers notwithstanding,” he said.

Called to comment on the statement by the President, Brigadier Richard Karemire said the additional deaths were from those who sustained injuries. He says by the time the army said four were dead they were four, but some who were injured have since died.

Karemire could not specify the day of the other deaths.

According to Karemire some soldiers had sustained injuries, but currently six UPDF soldiers remain injured, the same number he had given in the initial statement on Sunday evening, signed by his deputy, Lt Col Deo Akiiki.

Just like it happened with previous attacks, there has been conflicting figures on the number of dead and injured on both sides, with different media sources quoting different numbers.

The UK’s Guardian online reports that at least 46 UPDF soldiers were killed in double car bomb suicide attacks, quoting local officials in Mogadishu. The report quotes Abdi Nur Hashi, a Somali military colonel who also said one Somali soldier had died and several others were injured.

The New York Times and Reuters give a much high number of causality figures, with both saying 59 Amisom soldiers were killed in the attack.

The special representative of the chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, Francisco Madeira in a press statement issued on April 2 says at least 30 al-shabaab militants were killed, while four soldiers of Amisom were killed and six sustained injuries.

Karemire had insisted that the number of soldiers he gave out was the correct one.

The situation is similar to the one after the July 30, 2017 attack when UPDF said it had lost 12 soldiers while the militants said it had killed 39 Ugandan soldiers.

In September 2015, al-shabaab militants carried out an attack at the Amisom base in Janaale district in Somalia with reports indicating that 50 AMISOM soldiers had died, while the Somali military said 37 soldiers died.

The UPDF disputed this through the then spokesperson Paddy Ankunda who tweeted that the estimates of more than 50 deaths were a fabrication, insisting later that only 10 Ugandan soldiers had been killed in Somalia.

Days later, however, President Museveni who was on a visit to Japan told the media that 19 Ugandan soldiers had been killed in the Janaale attack, adding that six others were in action.

Uganda was the first country to deploy in Somalia in 2007 and contributes the biggest contingent of the 22,000-strong Amisom force.

The African Union plans to scale down its force and gradually hand over security operations to the Somali national army by 2020.

 

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Police, UPDF deploys heavily in Apaa

By Robert Segawa
The Police spokesperson AIGP Asan Kasingye has revealed that  police and UPDF have deployed heavily to calm the rising tension in Apaa over land.
Addressing journalists at the police headquarters on Monday, Kasingye said that on top of the heavy deployment, a police station and post have been set up in the area to help monitor the situation.
 Kasingye also noted that police is mulling charging the perpetrators of the violence in courts of law for the criminality that led to death of 8 people whereas  23 others were left injured.
He said government will continue engaging the locals so as to solve the issues amicably.

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 .