UPDF in Equatorial Guinea for training – Minister

The Uganda Peoples Defence Forces are in Equatorial Guinea, upon a request of the country's president to train its national army, the Minister of State for Defence, Hon. Charles Okello Engola has said.

"Our troops have gone to train (the army of Equatorial Guinea), on the request of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema," said Hon. Engola, during Tuesday's plenary sitting of Parliament.

Responding to an issue raised by Lwemiyaga MP, Hon. Theodore Ssekikubo, the Minister said that the UPDF had not deployed a fighting force like as was the case in Somalia, where the UPDF is part of the African Union Mission, which also includes Kenya and Burundi, trying to pacify Somalia.

Quoting weekend media reports, Hon. Ssekikubo claimed that Uganda had deployed a batch of 250 armed officers and men of the UPDF under the command of Lt. Col. Wycliffe Keita, to support the long serving President of Equatorial Guinea.

"The Constitution provides that all UPDF deployments out of the country are regulated and ordered by this Parliament. There hasn't been any motion considered in either a Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs or plenary to this effect," said Hon. Ssekikubo.

The Constitution provides that Parliament shall make laws regulating the deployment of troops outside Uganda.

Ssekikubo stated that another 250 soldiers were slated to join the first contingent.

The Minister said that there was no need for Parliament permission considering that the troops had only gone for training purposes.

The Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah, ruled that the Prime Minister makes a Statement about the issue of sending troops to Equatorial Guinea before Prime Minister's Question Time tomorrow, Wednesday 22nd February 2017.

Source: Parliament of Uganda