UGANDA SHELVES PLANS TO SEND PEACEKEEPERS TO CAR

KAMPALA, Sept 27 — Uganda has shelved plans to send UPDF troops as part of an international UN peacekeeping mission to war-stricken Central African Republic (CAR).

This follows a disagreement after UN wanted the Ugandan troops to operate from the CAR capital Bangui, which would be out of the territory occupied by the hunt for Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels.

In May this year, Uganda agreed to a UN request to contribute 400 peacekeeping troops to the war-stricken CAR as part of the African-led international peace support mission there.

CAR degenerated into civil and religious violence after the Seleka junta; a grouping of five rebel movements of mainly Muslim, overthrew President Francois Bozize in March last year.

On Friday, Gen. Katumba Wamala told journalists that Uganda had agreed to join the peacekeeping mission on condition that the UPDF would stay focused on the hunt for LRA.

Presently, UPDF is operating in CAR under the AU-authorized Regional Taskforce to hunt for the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leaders who remain a regional threat to Uganda, South Sudan, Central African Republic and DR Congo.

Gen. Katumba Wamala said, “We asked to join UN mission in CAR but they wanted us to move away from our sector to Bangui (the capital city). We found it contradictory. It would be taking us from the original issue.”

He added, “Our mandate to CAR was to pursue LRA. We have not completed the job. If we are re-hatted, we can continue to contribute to security in CAR; but not taking us out of our mission area because we don’t want to lose direction of what took us to CAR.”

The UPDF is presently based in the LRA-prone areas of south east of CAR as part of the regional taskforce that was created in 2012 under an AU mechanism to eliminate the threat of LRA.

SOURCE: NEW VISION

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