KAMPALA, The Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) has begun withdrawing its troops from the Central Africa Republic (CAR) where they have been part of an African Union (AU) Regional Task Force since 2012.

The first batch of troops returned to was been received Wednesday to Gulu in northern Uganda, where they were welcomed home by the Chief of Staff, Land Forces, Brigadier-General Katsigazi Tumusiime, and 4th Division commander Brig Emmanuel Kanyesigye.

The UPDF said in a statement that the decision to withdraw the troops was premised on the realization that the mission to neutralize the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) guerillas has now been successfully achieved. The LRA's capacity and means of waging war against Uganda have been degraded.

Key senior commanders of the LRA such as Dominic Ongwen, Okot Odyambo and other fighters have over the years been killed, captured or surrendered. Those who surrendered have been re-integrated into their societies of origin.

(LRA leader) Joseph Kony, with less than 100 armed fighters, is now weak and ineffective. He no longer poses any significant threat to Uganda's security and northern Uganda in particular, the statement said.

"The UPDF operations have contributed significantly to the restoration of peace and tranquillity in big areas of the Central Africa Republic (CAR). This won them admiration from the people exemplified by the 16th April 2017 demonstration by civilians in Obbo town calling upon the forces to stay the statement said, quoting army spokesman Brig Richard Karemire.

The future for stability in the CAR now lies on the shoulders of its Government. The UPDF as a pan-Africanist force remains ready to support the capacity building of the Armed Forces of Central Africa (FACA) for counter LRA operations and may also join the United Nations Multi-dimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) under a strengthened mandate to effectively deal with LRA.



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