UPDF spokesperson Lt Col Paddy Ankunda says what is happening in Rwenzori is “ethno-nationalism” taken to a wrong level.
He describes it as one ethnic group attacking another and nothing more.
“I don’t think that poor intelligence led to Rwenzori attacks. The attacks start as criminal then escalate into tribal clashes,” Ankunda said while appearing on Thursday.
Ankunda said they can’t ignore the fact that the border in the Rwenzori region is porous and a number of wrong elements take advantage of this.
Asked if Rwenzori attacks could spill over nationally, Ankunda replied: “I don’t think so. This is a local conflict.”
He said a mountain police division is going to be created, finally, to police the often restive mountains of Rwenzori.
Police have rounded up over 100 people; 25 of them are already before court.
“These are people who were armed with machetes, guns. We are protecting Uganda’s sovereignty.”
Ankunda explained that Rwenzori clashes are happening along the border posing a security risk and making the country prone to rebel attacks.
“What if ADF takes advantage of this? Rwenzori terrain is unique. Police are incapable. We are going to train soldiers capable of mountain warfare.”
He said the army has deployed a battalion of about 700 to 800 soldiers.
“We are professionals. Normalcy must return to Rwenzori. We are making a statement not only to those behind Rwenzori clashes but to the rebels across the border in DRC.”