Uganda People’s Defence Forces [UPDF] will stay in Somalia until 2018 since it has to secure the elections first, according to spokesperson.
The national army was slated to withdraw in 2017 after the European Union cut funding to the African Union Mission in Somalia [AMISOM] by 20 per cent.
According to army publicist, Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, UPDF will be there [Somalia], during the elections.
“We will provide security for the process,” he said.
He added: “UPDF will be in Somalia until 2018 and that is when, if necessary, we will reconsider our presence there.”
In August, first son and Special Forces Commander Maj Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba visited UPDF troops serving under African Union Mission in Somalia [AMISOM], and urged them to secure 2016 Somalia elections.
In June, the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Gen Katumba Wamala, said that Uganda would pull its troops out of the Amisom mission in December 2017.
Gen Katumba cited lack of financial resources to bankroll the fight and frustrations arising out of the Somali government’s failure to build an own capacity to deal with the al-Shabaab militants.
In July, President Yoweri Museveni said he would reconsider plans to pull its troops from Somalia if the AU stabilization mission there moves in the right direction.
Speaking to reporters at the end of a regional security summit in Kampala, Museveni said the military mission in Somalia has not been working successfully.
“Our main reason for going to Somalia was to help the Somali people to create their own army, but after 9 years we have not created the army,” he said.
He added “We cannot support that type of thing, the type of poor planning is something that we don’t support. We shall not pullout if we are moving the right directions, helping Somali people to build the institutions they need, specially the army.”
Uganda deployed troops to in Somalia in 2007, and is the force’s biggest contributor, supplying more than 6,000 of the 22,000 AMISOM troops.
The first batch was commanded by the late Court Martial chairman Maj General, Levi Karuhanga.
UPDF now has over 6,000 soldiers and officers serving with AMISOM mission.