Uganda is to deploy 2000 troops as part of an extra 4000 -strong contingent to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). New Vision reports that in a joint statement to field commanders in Somalia, Uganda’s army chief Gen. Aronda Nyakairima and his Burundian counterpart Maj. Gen. Godefroid Niyombare indicated that the troops were already heading for training before deployment.
The development followed the UN Security Council move in December to authorise the deployment of 4,000 more soldiers to support the President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed transitional government against al-Qaeda-inspired rebels. The deployment increases AMISON from 8000 to 12,000.
Burundi deployed 1,000 of the 4,000 in mid-March and UPDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Felix Kulayigye told the Daily that Uganda pledged 2,000 troops who are undergoing training. Ugandan troops make up most of the about 9,000 strong force
Uganda’s contribution of Police to the Darfur peacekeeping mission could be no more following failure to renew the tenure of 108 Ugandan police officers serving in Sudan by six months, reports indicate.
Daily Monitor also shows that efforts to get visas for a new 109 contingent of peacekeepers was frustrated by Sudan’s refusal to advance visas for new police peacekeepers from non-Arab speaking countries.
But more interesting is the role of Kampala officials in the recall that excludes Uganda from the mission that involves some forty countries. The Daily also indicates that the recall will cost the country foreign exchange.Daily Monitor indicates that each of the 108 peacekeepers remit home substantial amounts of their $4, 200 (Shs9.9m) monthly earnings, about 50 times higher than a Ugandan police constable’s Shs200, 000 monthly pay.
Francis Rwego, the director Peace Support Operations in Uganda Police Force, told the Daily that he was not aware of Sudan’s visa restrictions. Rwego whose role is cited in the recall, denies any wrongdoing, saying that a policy approved by the Police Council last September requiring that peacekeeping operations last one year so that many of the officers are exposed to peacekeeping operations.