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UPDF recalls 2,000 reservists for Somalia duty

Monday, November 26, 2012

The UPDF is recalling 2,000 former soldiers to deploy them in Somalia, under the African Union Mission to Somalia – AMISOM.

Capt. Deo Akiiki, the 3rd Division army spokesperson, said Monday that the soldiers to be recalled include those who retired as UPDF soldiers and auxiliary forces. The auxiliary forces include the Local Defence Units, Amuka and Arrow Boys.

He said the army is recalling only those who were trained by the UPDF and fought alongside the army to defeat rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army in northern Uganda, Allied Democratic Forces in Rwenzori region and cattle rustlers in Karamoja region.

Capt. Akiiki said, a directive from the Office of General Commanding Officer, Reserve Force headquarters indicates that the exercise kicks off tomorrow.

He said the former fighters would be re-trained before being deployed in Somalia to replace Uganda Battle Group 9.

 He explained that deserters and those who were dismissed with disgrace would not be considered.

Capt. Akiiki said the recruitment would be held at Bugema Barracks in Mbale, Soroti, the 3rd Division Army Barracks in Moroto, and at Gadaffi Barracks in Jinja.

According to Capt. Akiiki, a total of 134 reservists would be recruited from the Elgon region, 162 from Teso sub-region, 8 from Karamoja region and 88 from Busoga sub-region.

This is the second time the army is recalling its former servicemen for duty in Somalia, where Uganda forms the bulk of the about 17,000-strong AMISOM force fighting Al Shabaab militants.

In March, up to 1,700 reservists were deployed in Somalia and their nine-month contract expires in January next year. The recruits, according to Capt. Akiiki, would replace their colleagues after January.

The announcement to recall former soldiers for deployment in Somalia comes weeks after the government threatened to withdraw its forces from all foreign countries including Somalia to consolidate internal security.

Uganda was enraged when a leaked United Nations report accused Uganda and Rwanda of supporting M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Other countries maintaining forces in Somalia include Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Early this year, the United Nations passed a resolution permitting AMISOM to increase the number of troops and launch the second phase of their military offensive outside Mogadishu. UPDF increased its strength from 5,160 to 6,860 soldiers.


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