UPDF not leaving Somalia, says Ankunda

UPDF troops on the battlefield in Somalia

UPDF troops on the battlefield in Somalia

No decision has been taken to withdraw Uganda People’s Defence Forces [UPDF] from Somalia, says spokesperson.

The UPDF contingent serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia [AMISOM] has been in the news after European Union in March announced a 20 per cent cut in its support to the troops.

In April, the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Katumba Wamala, revealed that some battle groups serving under the contingent had gone at least four months without being paid allowances and salaries.

The soldiers monthly salaries had also been reduced from Shs3m to Shs2m.

The reduction of UPDF salaries sparked speculations that the national forces would soon leave the Horn of African nation and end their peacekeeping mission.

Army spokesperson, Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, said on Friday the decision to pull out UPDF had not yet been reached.

“For now Uganda is reviewing UPDF involvement in AMISOM,” Ankunda said.

He added:”…decision to withdraw not yet taken.”

The office of the Chief of Defence Forces on Thursday told Insider it was not aware of any discussion involving the withdraw of UPDF from Somalia or Central African Republic where they are hunting Al Shabaab militants and Lord’s Resistance Army [LRA] rebels led by Joseph Kony, respectively.

The UPDF chief political commissar, Col Felix Kulaigye, also told our reporter he was not informed of the decision to withdraw UPDF from its peacekeeping missions.

UPDF only managed to leave South Sudan after the current first vice president Riek Machar accused President Yoweri Museveni also Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces of frustrating the country’s peace process.

For the case of Somalia, European Union ambassador to Somalia, Michele Cervone d’Urso, confirmed that the bloc would still support AMISOM until the country is stabilised.

Uganda was the first country to deploy troops under AMISOM into Somalia in March 2007.

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.

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